The area around 108 Brasserie, just off Marylebone High St in central London is really buzzing at this time of year. Just up the road is The Ivy Cafe and apart from 108, there are a number of really cool places to eat. The Summer sun gets people dining outside and the normally reserved pavements spill over with tables full of wine glasses and Chardonnay, while Range Rovers double park and tanned beautiful women clutch designer shopping bags in one hand and small coiffed pooches in the other.
108 Brasserie has a nice lively atmosphere, busy, but not bustling. Technically it’s a French Brasserie, but the current dinner menu diversifies culturally to include Thai, Italian, Moroccan and many more besides. It’s neatly split between a bar and restaurant, so you can pop in for one of their famous G & T’s after work (they actually produce their own ‘108 Gin’) or have 3-course dinner with wine and make an evening of it.
There are some cool dining tables outside, while inside there are bright and light areas for group gatherings and low key romantic nooks and crannies for more intimate engagements.
Ok, so like all good restaurants the menu is diverse, but fairly compact and new additions this summer include (for starters) Shallot & Thyme Tarte Tatin with Crumbled Roquefort and something my guest tried when we visited, a very wonderful Seabass Ceviche with Sweet Potato, Avocado, Plantain, Lime & Chilli (below left), that is light, tangy, zingy and spicy in all the right places.
I order the Burrata for starters (below left), something I had just eaten for the first time in Italy recently. Similar to a ball of mozzarella, the cheese has a slightly harder top, but it’s much creamier on the inside and the tomatoes and light pesto sauce together with some seeded crackers complement the dairy flavour wonderfully. It’s delicious.
Incidentally, the wine menu at 108 Brasserie is much bigger, with a good range of Champagnes, we however modestly take a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Félines Jourdan 2018 which is not too expensive (£35) and is perfect with fish. It has a delicious clean taste with a great balance of sweetness, citrus, and lime.
New main dishes on the dinner menu main courses include Dukkah-spiced Lamb Rump and Lentil Tabbouleh and Minted Yoghurt. They like to keep things fresh at 108 Brasserie and there’s a cocktail of the month (this month it is called Yvenia (108 Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, rosemary & thyme syrup, Aperol, mint & peach liqueur) and at least one daily main special available.
Today it is Skate Wing and luckily I managed to grab the last one. Skate is a really meaty fish and the light vegetables and crispy toppings give it a nice bite. As for my guests Massaman tiger prawn curry with steamed Jasmine rice (above centre), it has a great depth of flavour and would sit at home in any of the best Thai restaurants in London.
For dessert, I just have to go for the creme brûlée (above right) which has a perfect crispy topping and rich creamy underbelly, while my friend somehow found room for a delicious vegan Raw Chocolate Panna Cotta served with Honeycomb.
If you want to go to 108 Brasserie for lunch they have some interesting new dishes such as Sprouted Grain Hummus Open Sandwich with Avocado & Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Lebanese Cauliflower “Tabbouleh” with Preserved Lemon, Pomegranate Seeds & Herbs. The lunch menu is split into ‘small plates’ and ‘larger plates’, so you don’t have to overdo it.
The service is quick and attentive at 108 Brasserie, but not over the top or pushy. Prices, while slightly higher than a similar ‘chain’ type restaurant reflect the nice area and the quality of the cooking is outstanding.
The simple key to 108 Brasserie’s success is that you can confidently go with a large group of people to the restaurant and they’ll all find something to eat that will really excite them. They also do great burgers and fish and chips (the ones I saw coming out of the kitchen looked fantastic), plus there is also a decent amount of vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu too. From a warm salad of chargrilled artichoke, broad beans, & shaved pecorino to a Vegan Thai green curry with tofu, green beans & baby corn with steamed rice which I was so tempted to try (next time for sure).
For more info visit https://108brasserie.com/
108 Marylebone Lane
London W1U 2QE
Telephone: 020 7969 3900