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Chez Gerard (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Chez Gerard in South Bank & Bankside, London

9 Belvedere Road, South Bank & Bankside, London, SE1 8YL
Cuisine: French
Tel: 020 7202 8470 | Email to Chez Gerard | Website | Transport: Waterloo | Write review

Chez Gerard Review

Best for: fast service; excellent grub in a rush.

Great: steak frites; house wine; Parisian ambience, in London.

I was in a rush. Get ready and get to the station. My boyfriend’s parents were meeting us in an hour and a half outside Waterloo for a show that started in two hours. In that time we had to eat and, more importantly, eat well, as we were expected to sit through a three hour performance that didn’t have an interval. To say that time was tight would be an understatement.

Usually I don’t mind rushing. I’m not one of those girls who spend hours in front of the mirror getting ready for a night out. In fact, I’ve even perfected leaving the house in less than 20 minutes, and that includes having a shower, drying and straightening my hair and putting on a full face of makeup. My life is dictated by deadlines – editorial deadlines, meeting deadlines – but the one thing I don’t like compromising on when in a rush is what I have to eat and where I have to eat it.

“What about McDonalds?” my boyfriend suggested, to which he received no response bar a frustrated side-eye glare. I shunned Nando’s after taking one look at the queue that snaked outside and around the corner into the street, and other fast food restaurants were no-go’s for me for a list of reasons longer than my arm (too greasy, too cheap, too expensive, too bland, too fussy). The Southbank is a stretch lined with many restaurants but none I could bank on getting me in and out within the hour that served great food and didn’t break my bank. Bar one: Chez Gérard.

Chez Gérard is a chain of traditional and charming French restaurants, Parisian in decor with stylish booths and muted lighting and renowned for “the best steak frites this side of Paris”. Heady praise, indeed. The a la carte menu stretched out languidly with a wide selection of delicious sounding dishes; great for a lazy evening meal but not so great for a couple in a rush who also have high expectations of food. This is where the Prix Fixe menu came in.

The Prix Fixe menu (literally translated as the fixed price menu) had a selection of three starters, four mains and three deserts. Because of the limited choice, decisions are made faster. There’s also no under pressure ordering. It’s straightforward, even for my partner, who loves to sweat and writhe over which dish to order, usually going back to his first choice after perusing the entire menu a million times.

The choices were simple but varied: a soup of the day, a salad, or a terrine for starters; chicken, steak, fish or a vegetable dish for main; and a mousse, sorbet or ice cream for dessert. I chose the salad of soft cheese decorated with herbs and shallots, the vegetable main lasagne, and ice cream for dessert. My partner ordered the fennel, tomato and chilli soup, the steak with frites (of course), and the chocolate mousse.

I’ve listed the food above in such detail for a reason. I want to get across just how good the options are. Prix Fixe menus are generally watered down versions of the extensive menu selection, but at Chez Gérard the choices of dish were ones I would have happily ordered myself had I looked at the main menu first. The steak was indeed one of the nicest I have had in a long time: medium as ordered, thick with garlic butter and littered with thin French fries that mopped up the juice. The open vegetarian lasagne was light and fresh, and filled with peas and asparagus that spilled out over the plate. Starters were simple but done well, and the selection of ice creams for dessert made a girl with a sweet tooth very happy. The house wine – a white, dry, Sauvignon Blanc no less – went down before we had eaten our final course it was so good.

Stuffed, patting full to bursting bellies after three courses, my boyfriend checked his watch. One hour and fifteen minutes had passed. In just one hour and fifteen minutes we had secured ourselves a restaurant table in the comfiest little booth on the South Bank, speared olives with toothpicks and smeared bread with butter, spoken to our waiter about a number of different topics including travelling around France and the perfect way to eat lobster, polished off a bottle of exquisite wine, eaten three courses (not leaving any leftovers), numerous toilet breaks and finished contentedly wiping our faces clean. Now that’s service (that left us to get on with the show, so to speak). more

Claire Williams

Customer Reviews for Chez Gerard

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Chez Gerard.

“I have been to Chez Gerard Southbank a few times now. I believe I am ready to write a review on those visits. Staff always polite and friendly I have to say just the right attitude. The stakes always very succulent and deliciously cooked. Pommes frites better than anyone else I have ever had. The menu is vast which makes comfortable to invite any friend to go, they will always find something to fancy. The speed of service just perfect, not slow and not rushed well balanced indeed. 100% recommend this restaurant wether having a sunday family lunch or a romantic dating, in this case make sure you request on of those private booths which make the evening even more special.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Robert Lewis, London (8 years 13 days ago)

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