Cote Brasserie opened in July 2017 on the corner of Westover Road, Bournemouth’s upmarket shopping street running through the heart of the town. This keenly-anticipated eatery is the first branch of Cote to open in Bournemouth, with the next closest restaurants situated in Dorchester and in Salisbury.
The building was previously gentlemen’s outfitters Austin Reed but has been extensively transformed into an elegant Parisian-style brasserie with room for 170 guests to dine. The Bournemouth branch is the latest of 90 Cote restaurants scattered right across the United Kingdom and employs a 40-strong team of management, chefs and hospitality staff.
Breakfast meetings and power lunches
Cote Brasserie Bournemouth is open seven days a week, from 8am on weekdays – ideal for breakfast meetings – and 9am at weekends. This stylish venue is right in the heart of the town’s main shopping and theatre districts and just a short stroll from Bournemouth’s main beach and pier if you’re heading down to the sand. Closing time is 11pm seven days a week, making it an ideal venue to spend a long and lazy date night or to grab a quick bite after catching a show.
The décor is smart and stylish, providing the perfect backdrop for a leisurely breakfast with family, a business lunch or evening catch-up with friends. The restaurant occupies two floors of this grand grade II listed building and its many unique and striking design touches include Victorian arched picture windows on the first floor and a small balcony for al fresco dining.
The menu presents a variety of authentic French classics and favourites, freshly cooked to order including steak frites, moules marineres and tuna nicoise, each begging to be followed by its signature crème caramel. The French inspired menu uses painstakingly-sourced authentic ingredients from corn-fed chickens from rural Brittany to Charentais melons direct from Paris’s Rungis market.
The breakfast menu features all the French favourites, with pastries, sandwiches, crepes and eggs of all descriptions to leisurely enjoy with the morning newspapers or grab on your way to work or down on the beach. The restaurant has an extensive selection of cooked breakfast items and is also Coeliac UK accredited for its gluten-free menu.
Eat a la carte
The a la carte menu offers a mix of light mains including risotto, fishcakes, goats cheese salad, a meat and fish selection including Breton fish stew, escalope de veau and, of course, a fine line-up of grills. If you’re particularly hungry or grabbing a quick bite on-the-fly then the ‘Plats Rapides’ menu serves up a mean and speedy steak frites, Poulet grille or Moules frites double-quick.
If you’d rather make a big occasion out of your visit, ask for the set menu for a distinguished line-up of tempting triple-courses such as langoustine tails as a starter, baked camembert for your main and a satisfying, comforting ‘crumble aux peches’ to finish.
Remember to check out the specials, with an ambitious line-up of dishes that changes every month featuring tempting classics such as whole grilled lobster, cote de boeuf and scallops. To give you an idea of the types of meals that may feature, Bournemouth’s specials menu for its opening month featured tuna carpaccio as a starter, crispy duck confit as a main and a classic crème brulee au citron to finish.
The taste test
Bournemouth.com was fortunate enough to be invited to Cote Brasserie during the restaurant’s first fortnight to sample the cuisine and witness this grand building’s incredible transformation from the empty unit that once was home to a posh gentlemen’s outfitters. We sampled the prawn gratinee and the steak tartare for starters, both classically-styled French entrees heaped with expectation from the lip-smacking menu descriptions and their intricate presentation. The king prawn starter in a white wine, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce with toasted garlic and parsley croutons really tickled the tastebuds of our pescetarian reviewer, who described it as ‘effortlessly light and tasty’ although she expressed surprise at the appearance of the dish, which was an intricate medley of ingredients and flavours rather than the anticipated line-up of prawns on a bed of sauce and salad. The steak tartare, a beautifully-styled dish of finely chopped raw beef was a first for our team – a somewhat surprisingly tasty entrée, rustically assembled and undeniably authentic.
The main event
Then onto the mains and our pair of plucky reviewers plumped for the restaurant’s Breton Fish Stew and the Roasted Pork Belly. The stew is a very rustic-looking dish – a traditional Breton fish stew of seabream, prawns, mussels, clams and squid with tomato, white wine and chilli. The flavours are very rich and satisfying with a thick broth primed for dipping the accompanying slices of fresh-baked bread. The pork belly main feels like the ultimate indulgence, proudly presented on a platform of gratin potato and complimented with fresh savoy cabbage, apples, thyme and calvados jus.
If you’ve still got room for dessert you can count on Cote to serve up a selection of sweet French favourites including a rich, warm chocolate fondant, an indulgent tarte fine aux pommes, a classic crème brulee, crème caramel and crepes and, of course, a cheese option, accompanied, of course with dessert wine.
Get your Cote
Our pair of foodies felt well and truly spoilt on their trip to Cote Brasserie, with waiting staff more than willing to offer menu advice, wine recommendations and even an impromptu grand tour. All in all, they were keen to see Cote by day as it has such a distinct personality in the evening that it would be interesting to see the venue through the eyes of the breakfasters, the power-meetingers, the brunchers and team-lunchers too. Cote has a varied and interesting menu and throws open its doors for every type of visitor looking for all types of refreshment. Next on our list to sample will likely be the Cote 10 year anniversary menu, which packs temptation into every course from the baked crottin goat’s cheese starter right through to the crepe Grand Marnier for dessert.
Cote Bournemouth has a weekday lunch and early evening menu, served between 12 midday and 7pm, with two courses for £10.95 and three courses for £12.95. Weekend specials are served from 12 to 6pm on Saturdays and 12 to 10:30pm Sundays with a choice of 1/2 roast chicken, steak frites or a Cote burger for £10.95.
Extensive wine list
Cote Brasserie boasts an extensive wine list to accompany its tempting menus, with bottles at every price point sourced from a number of small, independent producers and cooperatives across France. Their talented sommeliers have also recommended certain wine pairings to go with particular dishes, for example a Leduc Viogner from the Languedoc to accompany the cod loin special.
Cote is also well established for special diets. It has an extensive vegetarian menu and a gluten-free menu accredited by Coeliac UK. It also has a children’s menu with kid-friendly favourites like cod goujons, sausage and mash and a ham and gruyere cheese croque monsieur.
If you’ve watched the transformation of this popular corner of town with interest, be sure to put Cote Brasserie Bournemouth at the heart of your breakfast, lunch or dinner plans very soon.