Middle Eastern boy racers, mostly in Gucci, flock to Aubaine in Brompton Road. Outside on a summer’s day shiny Ferraris and Maseratis glisten in their illegally parked splendour. These playboys are not the only rule breakers here.
Aubaine, Brompton Road
For me French cuisine can be rich or it can be light. Be it cuisine classique or nouvelle cuisine, when done properly it’s frankly “magnifique.” Aubaine sadly doesn’t fit into either category, rather it is a mish mash of “anything goes.”
“Aubaine” in French means a “godsend, a fortunate windfall or a stroke of luck.” Somehow though, I can’t imagine Elizabeth David would have thought such of a visit to this South Kensington haunt of Chanel-clad mothers and wealthy Arabs.
Elizabeth David CBE (1913 - 1992)
Whilst the 35 day aged 250g rib eye steak is not bad, it most definitely is not worth £21.50. For much less elsewhere I’ve had far better. The rest of the menu is somewhat unadventurous with dishes like fillet burgers, chicken supreme and lobster spaghetti. Prices for these are equally high and on a par with much better venues like Bar Boulud at The Mandarin Oriental and the Brompton Bar & Grill.
Cluttered with bric-à-brac, Aubaine is fine for a quick coffee or cup of tea. It is a place, however, that doesn’t merit classification as a restaurant. In reality it’s a café that just happens to serve overpriced “faux French” cuisine.
According to a piece by Rowley Leigh in this weekend’s FT Magazine, Mrs David came to mourn the decline in “French gastronomic standards” by the 1970s. If she’d been able to visit Aubaine today, I imagine she’d remain equally downbeat.
Aubaine is not a restaurant I’ll be rushing back to. I can’t imagine Elizabeth David would have returned either.
Aubaine, 260 – 262 Bompton Road, London, SW3 2AS. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7052 0100. Website: http://www.aubaine.co.uk