Now, I normally don't like chain restaurants but I'm happy to make Cote an exception to my rule. It definitely doesn't feel like a chain and I was surprised to find out that they had quite so many restaurants - including one in Cardiff (down the bay innit).
No photos as yet, due to ongoing internet access issues at home and the fact that I can't upload photos at work. Boo.
Anyways, Cote. When we arrived at the Richmond restaurant on Friday sans reservation, we were greeted immediately by the very charming restaurant manager and, even though it was packed, were seated very quickly.
I like the decor, with red leather banquettes and wooden chairs it actually pulls off French bistro without overdoing it. It's how I imagine your favourite neighbourhood brasserie in Paris would look.
The waiting staff were friendly and efficient and, although it was a Friday night, we didn't struggle to order and had no overlong waits for food or drinks.
Cote is very good value. Most starters are around £5 - £6 and mains around £10 - £13 (a bit more for steaks). The menu might not be the most innovative or exciting but there's a good selection with a French theme. Drinks are similarly reasonable. I started with a Kir Royale, which was a steal at £3.95. A decent wine list starts at £14.50 a bottle, with a good selection at under £30.
We were after a quick meal before some riverside drinking, so just had mains. I went for the roast seabass, which was served with braised fennel and a champagne beurre blanc. And a portion of fries. The fries at Cote are excellent. Thin, crispy and extremely more-ish. The seabass was also well cooked and the sauce was delish.
Marc went for steak. Surprise! Actually, there was a small surprise involved; on this occasion he actually went for the 10oz rib-eye, rather than his customary fillet. The steak was perfectly cooked and accompanied by a delicious peppercorn sauce. And fries. Mmmm Cote fries!
I'd be very interested to try other Cote restaurants, to see if this quality is maintained across them all. In the meantime, I definitely recommend the Richmond restaurant.