There are times in life when you just really want to be somewhere else. Like when you’re back home for the weekend and your mum asks if you’re seeing anyone. When your train’s been stuck at a signal for the last decade. Or when your flatmate finds out that you broke their favourite mug four days ago and hid the evidence inside a saucepan. It’s the classic, get me the f out of here situation. Do you attempt to superglue the mug back together? Book a flight? Flee the country? No, you go to Colbert.
This all day bistro on Sloane Square looks, feels, and smells like a cafe in Paris. Ordering here is simple. Basically, if there’s an apostrophe, circumflex, or the word ‘steak’ involved then you know it’s a good bet, but the superfood salad, or anything you think Gainsbourg would have turned his nose up at, you should avoid. And finally, whether you’re here for some lunchtime crêpes or a three course dinner, always, always leave enough room for patisserie. Stick to those rules, and you’re set for a pretty great meal.
Much like with the ordering tactics, to get peak escapism out of Colbert you’ve got to commit to the idea that you’re actually in France. If you spend too long eavesdropping on the people at the table next to you discussing their Waitrose woes, you’ll ruin it for yourself. Will this place change your life? No. Will it even be the best French food you’ve tried in London? Nope. But if you focus on the shiny red leather seating, and the rattan table sets on the terrace outside, you can have a top time avoiding the real world here.
There are plenty of pubs, bars, and restaurants in London that you can hide away in, but few commit to the pretense of being 200 miles away from London in quite the way that Colbert does. This place is like a lovely day and night witness protection programme for people in dire need of forgetting the Circle line exists. And that’s exactly why you come to Colbert. You come here to escape for a couple of hours when the idea of actually getting the Eurostar feels like too much of a faff. Or at the very least, to bring your flatmate for macaroons after you break their favourite mug.
An absolute classic. Plus, at £12.25 it’s prime sit-down, weekday lunch material. Or light bite with a friend before heading elsewhere material. Or, my red wine needs a food friend material. You can get this with salad and fries if you like, but spreading it on toast is one of life’s great pleasures.
Walk out the door of Colbert, ask someone to blindfold you, spin you around, and within 200 steps you’ll find another version of this salad. And it’ll probably be better.
The kind of thing you have to take three bites of before you confirm that yes, this is what all desserts should taste like. The chocolate is rich, the raspberry is a little bitter, together they’re next-level tasty.
When aliens eventually invade the planet we’ll feed them macarons to prove that humans are both sweet and simple creatures. Sugar, eggs, maybe a little vanilla, rose, or coconut, and boom, pure joy in a dessert. These are especially good.