I was unfortunate enough to come down with a migraine recently and missed an invitation to a canape night held at Cote in Islington. I was lucky enough to be invited back to make up for missing that night. I’ve seen various Cote restaurants scattered around London, but never eaten at any. Photos are unfortunately atrocious – Cote is not photo-friendly due to the low-lighting.

I had the steak tartare to start. It arrived disappointingly pre-mixed. Understandable I suppose – not everyone likes to play with their food like I do.


Duncan naturally went for the scallops which were massive in size. Perhaps a touch too much pea puree, they were seared perfectly and bouncy and soft.


For mains I went for the veal escalope. This was also a massive portion, but very well cooked. The crumbed coating helped counter the soft and mushiness you can find with veal due to its very nature. Fries on the side were thin, golden and crispy – a dream to eat.


Duncan’s main was the duck confit. Sitting on top of a pile of cannelini beans, the duck was a touch overcooked and not the juicy leg he was expecting.


Desserts were awesome. Easily by far and away the best bit of the meal. Crème brule is my kitchen nemesis. I’ve tried to make it 4 times now and failed each and every time. I have now resigned myself to never achieving this in my own kitchen and it is something I will have to order just to get my fix. Cote’s version was a simple vanilla version, but done well. Crispy toffee top? Yes please.


Interesting fact about crème caramel. The Filipino version is called leche flan. Ok, fine – not so interesting, but I grew up with my mum making this dessert, only knowing it by the name of leche flan, and then remember being completely flummoxed when it was mentioned on Sabrina the Teenage Witch – other people know what this dish is too? Bad TV choices aside, I know good crème caramel when I taste one and judging by the (several) spoonfuls I stole from Duncan, this one ticks all the boxes. No photo as mine came out truly too terrible to post.

To be honest, Cote isn’t an obvious restaurant choice I would make in Islington – it’s location on Islington Green isn’t somewhere I usually go to, and I admittedly, was surprised to find it quite packed so early on a Saturday night. There aren’t too many options for French food in Islington, and the next time I ruin yet another batch of Crème Brule’s, I know where to go get my fix.

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