Bloomsbury is very much an underrated area of London. If you're looking to wine and dine away from the hustle and bustle, but still ridiculously close to the heart of the city, then Bloomsbury could be the ideal place for you. With a whole host of restaurants opening up of late, we take a look at the ones that are definitely worth a visit.
As far as food trends are considered, our obsession with cheese is pretty unrivalled. Our love of cheese continues to grow in the capital, especially with the help of the occasional high profile cheesy pop up. Yet just as quickly as we find our dream dairy-based haunt, it disappears again - so when we heard that cheese store-come-cafe-come-wine bar La Fromagerie had opened their third venture in Bloomsbury, we had to give it a try.
With a love of cheese stronger than any Stilton going, La Fromagerie was founded back in 2002 by Patricia Michelson and Sarah Bilney, and since then the delicatessen has opened three branches in Marylebone, Highbury and now Bloomsbury - each dedicated to serving the best cheesy treats around. La Fromagerie also has a pretty cute back story to it - Patricia began the chain after buying a wheel of Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage cheese in Meribel whilst on a skiing trip, going on to sell it from her garden shed in London and eventually Camden Market.
This isn't just a restaurant though. La Fromagerie is also a delicatessen style shop, meaning you can buy most of the cheeses served in the restaurant as well - although we doubt you'll be leaving hungry, their offerings are far too good not to take home.
If you're anything like us, then choosing your favourite cheese is an impossible task, and it's certainly not going to get any easier here. Heading into the Lambs Conduit Street restaurant, you're confronted with one of the most spectacular arrays of cheese, of which La Fromagerie has been famed for. The aptly named Cheese Room is a walk in shop area of the restaurant, where over indulgers of dairy can buy plentiful fromage, charcuterie, artisan breads, fruit and veg and loads more. If that doesn't get your taste buds tingling, we're not sure what will.
Whilst take away cheese is ideal on the go, cheese of this stature definitely deserves a lengthier appreciation - and when the restaurant looks this good, it would be rude not to. With marble counters, moody antique lighting, wooden fittings and deep dark green velvet banquettes, it's the perfect setting for a cheese love affair.
As far as the menu goes, it doesn't take much to guess what's on it. You'd be a fool not to try one of La Fromagerie's cheese boards which, dare we say it, might be the best we've had in London. These are organised by country of origin on the menu, and each paired with their perfect wine match. I mean, is there any better combination? With a whole host of charcuterie to go with your cheeseboard of choice, it's the perfect option for an evening bite. If you're after something a bit bigger, La Fromagerie also have an extensive menu featuring mouthwatering smoked salmon, melted comtoise raclette and salt beef sandwiches to name a few.
This is definitely a place to indulge (we'll worry about the calories later), and you can't get much more indulgent than La Fromagerie's pièce de résistance - the Fondue Savoyarde. A delicious melting pot of three different cheeses, served with sourdough, cornichons and a choice of charlotte potatoes or charcuterie, this is a cheesy delight not to be missed.
If you're in the area for a morning stroll, you're also in luck. La Fromagerie also has an impressive brunch menu, including the mother of all cheese toasties as well as the usual classics, including Eggs Benedict and French toast - the perfect accompaniment for eating al fresco and watching the world go by.
What To Wear
In true French, nonchalant style, casual chic prevails at La Fromagerie. It's all about good produce here, so the focus is definitely on substance over style, meaning there's no need to turn up in a suit and tie. However when food tastes this good, it surely deserves a bit of respect, right? Keep it laid back with a pair of dark jeans, and pair with a casual (but never scruffy) shirt left open over a T-shirt. With its low lighting and dishes that beg to be shared, this is a pretty ideal setting for a date, so you want to look as good at the food (and setting, for that matter) itself. Just leave the cheesy lines at home and your date will think you're grate - sorry, we couldn't resist!