Let me count the wheys… Excuse the pun, but as Christmas lingers, here at Fabric HQ we’ve been craving that most festive icon: cheese. And what better place to satiate ourselves than with a visit to La Fromagerie’s latest spot in Bloomsbury?
On our approach, the grand Georgian pile is surprisingly unimposing: a deep green façade; a black canopy covering a small dining area; the door propped ajar, with sweet and sour smells of cheesy goodness spilling out. Inside, the deli offers a colourful array of produce: seasonal fruit and veg, homemade bread and cake, chutney, truffle honey, charcuterie and fine wine…We sit on comfy green velvet banquettes, enjoy a glass of bubbles and peruse the menu. There’s plenty of fromage-tinged sustenance – from their famous Fondue Savoyarde to twice-baked soufflé. We opt for the seasonally appropriate baked pumpkin – an indulgent dish with lashings of creamy sauce flavoured with sage, stuffed with meaty wild mushrooms and finished with shavings of parmesan. The flavours are a treat: nutty, salty and ever so creamy. Savouring this warming dish, we take in our surroundings – brass accents, wooden panelling and a particularly stunning marble-top bar.
Next, our waiter recommends the Cheeseroom Board. This offers the chance to journey through cheeses from the Loire Valley to Hampshire then Savoie, Oxfordshire and Leon, beautifully showcasing the breadth of options on offer. Our generously portioned serving is accompanied by crackers and apple and we opt for the suggested wine pairing, a full-bodied Chianti. Seeing the look of reckless abandon in our eyes as he lays the board down, our waiter suggests we sample the options in the order they’re laid out, finishing with the strongest. First up is Valençay, a semi-soft ash-coated goat’s cheese with delicate citrusy notes. Then comes Tunworth. This oozing block has been truffled (sliced into thirds, horizontally, and spread with a truffle mixture, then sandwiched back together). The unique earthy, brassica-flavoured cheese is complimented perfectly by the truffle. We like. Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage is next: firm, with an off-sweet almondy nuttiness similar to Comté. Then its Rollright – its gentle gamey aroma and nutty boskiness knocks our socks off. And lastly, Picos de Europa, a blue cheese that’s wrapped in sycamore leaves. Similar to Roquefort in flavour but firmer, it’s a mix of goat’s and cow’s milk with a sharper tang than other blues. We check the time and realise we’ve whiled away two hours. We’re thoroughly stuffed, but can’t resist a coffee and some bitter chocolate almonds – the latter all rich and melting chocolate decadence with a crumbling toasted nut centre. Leaving, we find ourselves rolling out the door, eager to tell everyone we know about our new favourite place.
La Fromagerie, 52 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N (020 7242 1044; www.lafromagerie.co.uk/bloomsbury)