Restaurant Review: Champagne+Fromage
I always say cheese is the one food that goes with everything, if only due to the sheer volume of different varieties produced. So when I was asked on a date at Greenwich’s newly opened Champagne+Fromage, I thought that any man who accepts my obsession with cheese (and equally champagne) must truly be “the one”.
With two branches already in full swing, in Brixton and Covent Garden, Champagne+Fromage opened its Greenwich outlet in June 2015. The intimate restaurant is set on the corner of a cobbled street where a market thrives from Tuesday to Sunday.
My usual approach to a cheese board would be “the more, the better” (is there ever enough?), but I’m aware that it might not be the best choice in terms of dating etiquette. So I was pleasantly surprised when we were presented with a board that contained slim slithers of a refined selection accompanied by salami and cured meats.
For the French, cheese-making is an art, and in their hands, details that wouldn’t necessarily resonate with novices and plain cheddar lovers (such as regional origin, milk or ageing) become striking nuances of flavour. Just like with fine wines and champagne, pairing is crucial, so Champagne+Fromage’s menu selection offers a range of familiar varieties, from Comte to Camembert to Roquefort, alongside a charcuterie selection that includes saucisson, coppa corse and noix d’epaule. Add fresh baguettes and fig tapenade, and it’s obvious that everything on the board has been studied and thoughtfully laid out to tease and surprise the taste buds. We opted for a couple of glasses of the Pertois-Moiset Brut, but there are quite a few other Brut, Grand Cru and vintage champagne options available. Champagne+Fromage sits right at the very heart of traditional French “cuisine du terroir”, serving up simple regional produce in a casual setting.
For me, this made a great destination for a first date, and not just because it includes my two favourite “C”s – the set-up is perfect for those who don’t want the pressure of going for a meal on a first date, but who also don’t want to drink so much that they fall at the first hurdle. Depending on where the evening takes you, you could continue drinking the night away and working your way through the menu; and if the date’s not quite what you hoped for, at least you can say that you quaffed champagne on your first date, and that’s a winning experience in any case.