When I heard about this place I thought, wow, there’s a weight of expectation here, you know? Naming your restaurant after two of the most wonderful things in the world means it has to be stellar really. Can you imagine if ‘Champagne & Fromage’ ended up doing a mediocre cheeseboard? Or had an average selection of champagnes? It would be 20 times worse than if it was named something different I think. This really concerned me, I wondered whether it was worth risking crushing disappointment… I lay awake at night worrying that Champagne and Fromage wouldn’t be everything I dreamed it would be*. After some soul searching, I decided to take the plunge anyway…
*This may be an exaggeration
And LUCKILY dear Readers, the risk was worth it! Champagne and Fromage is brilliant – how could it be anything else?
Located in Covent Garden (there’s also one in Brixton) opposite the Lyceum theatre, it is basically a shop with tables. Inside it’s lovely – it all looks a bit rustic and ‘reclaimed’ if you know what I mean. It kind of reminds me a bit of Cave à Fromage in South Ken, but cosier. The menu is pretty much exclusively cheese based dishes (no complaints here) and they have a champagne menu and really great, knowledgeable staff who will help you if you don’t know what you’re doing.
As usual, we shared so we could try more dishes. Luckily this is a very share-y sort of place as the food lends itself to being nibbled rather than being a main course. We started our cheesey adventure with the goats cheese quiche, Corsican cured meat selection and baked camembert with pesto and sundried tomatoes. The quiche was lovely; buttery pastry and not too strong a goats cheese flavour so it wasn’t overpowering. The camembert was great – can’t really go wrong with that – and the whole cheese was flavoured with pesto and little salty chunks of sundried tomato rather than it just being on the top.
You may by now have spotted something we didn’t, dear Readers; the fact that everything we were eating is laden with salt. That didn’t occur to us until after our eyeballs started to shrivel from lack of moisture. TOP TIP: If you go here, enhance your experience by remembering to break up the champagne with water. Don’t do what we did, which was realise at the end of the meal that we were dying of dehydration, then chug 3 litres of aqua in about 20 minutes. Makes you feel a bit sloshy, frankly. Best avoided after copious amounts of cheese.
After our first lot of dishes we ordered… more salt! A cheeseboard and an oeuf cocotte (baked egg) with maroilles cheese. We ordered the baked egg on a bit of a whim but this turned out to be the favourite dish. Lovely cheesey, eggy goodness with a perfect runny yolk.
Looking at those photos gives me food envy of myself. It’s confusing… Caroline makes these so if you follow her recipe and add a little of your favourite strong cheese to the cream you could be on to a breakfast winner.
We left the choice of cheeses for our board up to our waitress – as I said, the staff here are great and they’re more than happy to help you put together your perfect cheeseboard. After the strong flavours of the other dishes we were in the mood for something a little more low key so she brought us a great selection of creamy cheeses to finish with. The menu said they came with quince jam, but I have to be honest it tasted like marmalade to me and I didn’t think it complemented the cheeses that well. That may just have been the particular cheeses on our board though, so there you go.
What we ate:
What we drank:
Sel stuck to the Phillipe Deschelle champagne, which wasn’t too dry (apparently it’s the chardonnay grapes which make it dry, which is your fact of the day). I tried the Colin cuvee alliance which was ‘dry but crisp’ and the Pertois-Moriset brut which was 100% chardonnay and dry as a bone. That’s how I roll.
Would we go again?
Definitely! When we played the ‘what would you order differently’ game at the end of the meal (one of my favourite games, don’t judge) we decided that next time we’d try another of the baked eggs, give the quiche a miss (even though it was delicious, you can get delicious quiches in other places) and save room for pud as we both desperately wanted to try the chocolate fondant with blue cheese (!!) but couldn’t squeeze it in.
Oh, be prepared for some serious fromage dreams after your visit here. Trippy stuff…