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Randall & Aubin is a stalwart of Soho that readers will either have visited before for seafood and champagne, or sashayed past many times on Brewer Street on the way to a regular watering hole. We at Vada count ourselves as semi-regular visitors, but how does this Anglo-French restaurant hold up 24 years after opening?
Randall & Aubin
The first thing that hits diners on opening the door to the restaurant is the modern dance playlist, loud enough to keep the rhythm of service, but not so loud to impede conversation. The second point of note is the size of Randall & Aubin, what you see is what you get in terms of seating, so be prepared to queue outdoors at peak times, with a glass of champagne of course. The venue size and layout of nooks and corner tables, mixed with the décor: marble topped counters and chandeliers evokes a Parisian space, with a glitter-ball nod to its Soho setting.
As is customary in a seafood restaurant, we chose Oysters to start (3 French rocks for £8.85) alongside well-cooked, crispy Calamari frites with pimento and peppercorn salsa (£11.50). Paired with this we took the recommendation of a bottle of Picpoul de Pinet Roquemoliere (£33) to drink.
Main courses were a grilled wild sea bass steak with pea and lemon arancini, truffle sauce and broccoli (£32.50), and seared Orkney scallops with Amalfi butter, pancetta croutons, cauliflower and Parmesan purée (£21.50). We obviously didn’t have enough fried goodness with starters, so chose a side of zucchini fritters with basil mayonnaise (£4.50). The sea bass had perfectly crisp skin and succulent meat, but the arancini, whilst executed well, did not wow. The scallop dish oozed umami moreishness from every bite.
Dessert was a shared hot chocolate fondant with spiced black cherry sauce (£7) and a very flambée crème brûlée (£7). Despite being overcook, the more-cake-than-fondant was still exceptionally light. The flaming crème brûlée on the other hand impressed without fault.
Despite the cosy size, Randall & Aubin do a good job at ensuring there is still space for diners to enjoy each others’ company. Since our previous visit a couple of years ago, we found the same excellent presentation of food. The familiar service was friendly and professional, and we wish all waiters have the same ingenuous smile as ours did. In fact, is he available to bring us breakfast in bed?
As for price point, expect to pay from £70+ per person for a three course meal, half bottle of wine and service.
In our view, Randall & Aubin has maintained the high standards it created in 1996, continuing to deliver its mix of Anglo-French cuisine, in its unique Parisian-Soho chic. The dishes have some minor points of improvement, but the overall offering should see the restaurant successful in another 24 years.
Randall & Aubin is located at 14-16 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 0SG
For more information and to book, visit randallandaubin.com.