I find January a really hard month. The fun of Christmas is over and all of the celebrations and two weeks of family time with the kids of school and the hubs off work. But if there is one way to my heart, then it is through food. And recently we were offered the chance to go and try out the new January menu at the new Côte Brasserie restaurant in Maidstone (on Earl Street). It has been open for a couple of months, but I think it would be well worth a visit again.
Côte is a brand that I have eaten at before but not for a long time. I have been to one near London Bridge before and remember enjoying the authentic French food, which is quite hard to find well done over here. The Maidstone branch was decorated in an amazingly stylish way; it really was immaculate. And to say you’re right on the ‘high street,’ for me it was much classier looking than other chains close by to it. It felt pretty sophisticated and it didn’t feel at all crowded, even though there were quite a few people in there eating when we were; somewhere that I would go to again, for sure.
To start off with, we were shown to our table and talked through the menus, as there is a set menu (two or three courses for a set price), the a la carte menu, and the specials menu.
There was so much choice and definitely something for everyone. Being a vegetarian it as great to see that there were veggie options on the main menu, but there is a separate vegetarian menu if needed (always a good thing to see). We were given complimentary water for the table, in a bottle that kept it cool the whole time which was great, as well as then making a start with some bread and olives. All good so far.
The service that we had was amazing. We ordered drinks, just soft drinks as we don’t drink, but there were recommended wines for different dishes if that is your thing (and definitely put me in mind of more of a fine dining place to eat rather than just on the high street, so I was pretty impressed.
I had the French Onion Soup (£5.95) to start off with, which was rustic French onion soup with a sourdough croûte and melted Comté cheese – it was absolutely divine and I would definitely have it again. The husband went for the charcuterie board (£7.25), which was jambon de Savoie, smoked duck breast, saucisson sec and duck, with salad and chargrilled pain de campagne (he is in no way vegetarian, as you can see)! I was reliably informed that it was amazing, and very impressed with the portion size that you get too, making it value for money.
For the main course I chose the Goats Cheese Salad (£10.50), which looked incredible, and was really pleased to see that it was a ‘warm’ salad, consisting of goats cheese, roasted vegetables, and a black olive tapenade crostini. It was all amazing, but I was especially in love with the black olive tapenade! I hated olives until about ten years ago but now can’t get enough. The husband went for the lamb shank (£14.95), off the January specials menu, which did look amazing. It came with a wholegrain mustard potato mash and a veal and rosemary sauce (mustard mash is my thing so was jel of that for sure). Again, he was very pleased with his meal and didn’t think he really needed the side of fries that he ordered with it – the portion sizes are generous.
When it is a French restaurant it would be wrong to not get a dessert, right?
I was honestly so full by this point, but the husband decided on the praline crêpe (£6.25), and I had a couple of bites. It was a chocolate and praline crêpe with caramelised bananas and crème Chantilly – those caramelised bananas were incredible. The French do sweet things just right.
To be fair, it was’t just the dessert, the whole thing was amazing, with us enjoying every aspect of what we had. The service was excellent, the food tasted great, I think you get good value for money as it tastes so good and the portion sizes are generous.
The setting is really lovely; it was immaculate and very elegant. I would completely recommend Côte Brasserie in Maidstone; absolutely fab.
Have you eaten at a Côte Brasserie before? It would be great to hear what you think.
*We dined as guests of Côte, but all opinions are our own.