Douglas Blyde visits Cabotte on Gresham Street and discover how its two Master Sommelier founders, Geraoid Devaney and Xavier Rousset, first met and went on to develop a restaurant with a philosophy of “simply presented, clean and refined”.
Classic French wines deserve a similar approach to the cooking. Fortunately, British chef Edward Boarland – who trained at The Waterside Inn in Bray and then worked with Clare Smyth at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road – provides it,” wrote Fay Maschler of Cabotte in the Evening Standard.
Founded by two master sommeliers, Cabotte is named after the small stone huts which offer vineyard workers refuge from the elements. Located on Gresham Street, the restaurant itself gives City workers a happy haven from unsettled markets. The minds behind are blues guitarist and charity marathon runner Gearoid Devaney, who is also the director of Burgundy-centric Flint Wines, and Xavier Rousset. They met on a merchant-organised visit to producers Dujac and Rousseau in 2000. “My first wine trip and Gearoid’s second,” recalls Rousset. “None of Gerard Basset’s head somms could go so off I went, bonding with Gearoid at 4am at Le Galleon nightclub. On returning to the hotel, Gearoid assumed I knew Beaune inside out just because I was French and we promptly got lost, wandering around the ramparts…”
Formerly a Be At One cocktail bar, Cabotte has been skilfully reimagined in a way perhaps best described as polished rusticity, complete with textured plaster, a shiny vine sculpture and backlit mirrors. “We’ve both spent time in venues dressed as penguins but wanted a more relaxed vibe here,” says Devaney.
Best savoured from huge Zalto glasses, the comprehensive Burgundy-focused list has been lovingly assembled by Mathieu Feille and includes domaines: Ballot-Millot, Cathiard, Château Moulin-à-Vent, Duroché, Etienne Sauzet, Henri Gouges, Hudellot-Nöellat, Jobard, Lebreuil, de Montille, Pernot-Belicard and Taupenot-Merme. From elsewhere, you can find some of the most crystalline examples of Burgundy’s star grapes crafted by the likes of Ata Rangi, By Farr, Chanin, Roagna, Marjan Simčič and Thomash Studach.
Devised by head chef Ed Boarland, a lover of Champagne and a big fan of game, dishes fit the duo’s brief to be “simply presented, clean and refined”. These may include butter-roasted veal sweetbread and calves brain with pomme purée and smoked bacon sauce, paired with decade-old Saint-Aubin Premier Cru La Chatenière, by Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey.
Overseeing both the short list and full tome is lover of both Riesling and surfing, Jacques Savary de Beauregard. Now wine director for operator of Cabotte, GX Hospitality, the former sommelier and restaurant director at Le Dame de Pic in Megève advises that the banquettes offer one of the best views of the room and its “ballet of waiters and sommeliers”.
Keep an eye out for events at the restaurant, including collaborations with its Nuits Saint-Georges-based restaurant twin, La Cabotte.
Score 96.4 Value 95 Size 97 Range 96 Originality 96 Experience 98
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