Bleeding Heart is a very French restaurant, undoubtedly authentic, with all the staff we have encountered during our visits there French also. The problem we also encountered however is that the whole restaurant seemed to possess a somewhat arrogant tone, the staff seemingly indifferent to us as customers and god forbid that they should actually smile at you.
In that respect it felt dated, showing its three decades, and harking back to a time when French food ruled unquestionably such that top French restaurants often manifested an underlying air of contempt for the customer and their 'primitive' palates. The result was service that could be construed as intimidating, certainly uncomfortable for the guest, and at odds with their website claim that they offer 'a uniquely welcoming ambience'. Well, come to think of it, it is something of a unique ambience they offer, just not a friendly one.
All this could be forgiven if they offered a genuinely exciting food experience but there really is nothing food-wise to get excited about. For starters, it was Steak Tartare with Soft-poached Quails Egg and Parmesan (£11.50), and Cornish Crab and Crayfish Tail Tian with Sweet Cured Dill Cucumber and Avocado (£11.75). Both were unbalanced, each dominated by a single overwhelming flavour. In the case of the Steak Tartare, it was Worcestershire sauce with nothing, if there was anything else, having a chance. For the Cornish Crab and Crayfish Tail Tian, brown crab-meat hijacked everything while also possessing a slightly off taste. There was no balance and no finesse in either dish though worse was to come with the mains.
And then there's the risotto itself which had seen all the joy cooked out of it, reminiscent of an 'all you can eat' buffet risotto that has been sitting in a heated tray for a couple of hours being ignored. This was a dish then that failed on every level.
Our other main was Assiette of Suckling Pig and Crackling with Apricot and Sage Faggots, Pommes Fondant and Bramley Apple Sauce (£21.75). Everything on this plate was dry and sad. The sauce was the only thing that eased the burden of eating it. There was simply nothing on this plate that had been cooked well, everything had had the life cooked out of it.
Bleeding Heart Restaurant says on its website that it has been described by Square Meal as 'arguably the finest French restaurant in the City'. In our opinion, it misses this accolade by a wide margin, and less than 10 minutes walk away is restaurant that we believe can lay a significantly greater claim to the title, Bistrot Bruno Loubet where we ended up taking our desserts... and they were simple, but simply brilliant.
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