Back in 1996, to celebrate my 25th birthday, a special family dinner was held at Le Caprice. Having been acquired 15 years earlier by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the formidable duo (aka Rex Restaurant Associates) had already proven themselves as restaurant-preneurs by restoring famous eateries to their former glory. The dining experience clearly made a huge impression on me as I still remember the meal, buzzy atmosphere and elegant yet timeless interior.
Fast-forward to 2012 and the Corbin-King team can now boast numerous restaurant successes, including The Wolseley which is probably my favourite all-day-brasserie in the city.
So, hearing of the very recent opening of Colbert, at Sloane Square, I felt it would be perfectly fitting to celebrate my 41 years in Corbin and King’s latest venture. And even more fitting when I worked out that this classic French brasserie is situated where Oriel, an old haunt with school friends, used to be. In fact, the story goes that Earl Cadogan (the landlord of this site) had a terrible meal at Oriel therefore refusing to renew their lease. And in stepped Rex.
Justifying that the experience could serve as part of the Smalls’ French education, I booked a table for Sunday lunch. And the menu is full of perfect French vocabulary: all day omelette, croque everything, fromages, caviar and les tartes.
We all shared the chicken liver parfait with brioche and sauternes jelly and a plate of smoked salmon (£12.75) to start. Then the Smalls shared a veal schnitzel (£19.75) while He had one to himself and I fell for a wild mushroom and jersualem artichoke salad (£12). Accompanied by French (of course) beans and chips, there was hardly room for dessert. Until He spotted the Mousse aux Deux Chocolats (£6.75) and insisted that it should arrive with four spoons.
All this would have been exciting enough for any fan of Rex Restaurants. So imagine my excitement when Chris Corbin wandered over to chat to us. I was bowled over by his honesty and humble manner. He is elegant, polite, amusing and curiously looks a little like Prince Charles.
We complimented him on our fabulous meal and the stunning interior of what will be the new Sloane hangout. He casually answered: ‘It’s early days and I don’t want to over-promise nor over-hype; we just want to get it right. Every meal needs to be spot on.’
The Rex team-at-large is famously attentive to detail and Colbert seems to be no exception. 30 years since they first got it right and the dream team has gone and done it again.
Colbert 020 7730 2804
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm (Sat -11.30pm) (Sun -10.30pm)