I am interested to read the reviews of one of your reviewers who must have been to Assiette a day or two before us. My review almost matches! We also had high expectations because of local reviews, but were really pretty disappointed. We were also keen for some French cuisine, but it wasn't really French at all.
The interior is nicely done, very smart and clean, and the washroom very well appointed, although up a lot of stairs which could be a problem for some. We was pleased to see a jug of iced tap water brought to the table, this is a plus in my view rather than being pressured into buying expensive bottled water. However good restaurants would not leave the wine list on the table, but would offer it, and it wouldn't have plastic sleeving, but perhaps I am being over critical here. We waited for quite a while before we were offered the food menu.
I decided on the cheese spring rolls, thinking that maybe this twist on the Chinese spring roll might be delicate and crisp, however the plate consisted of two huge 'spring rolls' that were too stodgy and filling, and inside was what tasted rather like plain old cream cheese. The fruity salad and sauce however was good, and fresh tasting. My husband had the belly pork which he enjoyed, even if a little tricky to eat as the crackling was so crisp!
Our second courses were also the bream and the duck. We both felt that the main element of these dishes, that is to say the duck breast and the bream fillet were perfectly seasoned and beautifully cooked. However the bream was sadly ruined by the colossal and unnecessary heap of vegetables of every possible sort underneath, which did absolutely nothing to complement the dish and made the presentation of the food a mess. The 'bouillabaisse sauce' poured over was over peppery, and in such a quantity as to make everything soggy, no crisp fish skin and the 'crispy' potatoes - just weren't. Such a shame, as the bream came with a tiny amount of fine julienne strips of celeriac on top, which was delicious, and would have been enough on it's own to complement the bream, with a few mixed leaves perhaps and a small amount of properly seasoned sauce. The duck was perfectly cooked - just right in fact. But was sadly similarly spoilt by an overdose of vegetables and some sort of sauce. The fact that little thought had gone into the presentation of this beautifully cooked duck really let the dish down.
Service was very slow, and we gave up waiting for a dessert, we would have liked coffee but felt this would take forever as well, so we left. There was a lot of wandering round the tables by the waiting staff, and hanging around the till, but no offer of a dessert menu or a check whether we needed anything.
This is a shame as I would really like to wish this restaurant well, it is in a good location and is clearly popular, every table was full. When the staff came to the table they were very courteous and attentive, but simply failed to keep scanning the room for any customers sitting and waiting. I am sure that some attention to detail, staff training and adjustment of the menu would pay off, however I am sad to say that our experience was just not nearly worth the prices being charged.
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