Cheese and Chocolate Fondues at Bedford & Strand
Published 25 April 2013
When you think of fondue, you think of chalets high up the Swiss Alps, being buffeted by horizontal snow, while flush faced people still in their ski gear huddle around a wooden table stabbing sticks of meat, bread, and potatoes into a melting pot of cheese.
You don’t find many fondues in London. Although that is to be expected, as we lack the snow (apart from the odd flurry) and we go on school runs instead of ski runs.
Bedford & Strand are bold to launch fondue, both the cheese kind and the chocolate kind, onto their evening menus. I managed to have a chance to try both one evening at an event they held recently.
Served with a charcuterie board, bread cubes, and new potatoes, the cheese fondue sits in a traditional looking fondue pot in the middle of the table, and you take turns dipping the various meats, bread, and potatoes into the pot. I’m not a fondue expert; I could count the number of times I’ve had it on one hand. But I have had it quite authentically on the French (not Swiss unfortunately) side of the Alps, and this one at Bedford & Strand was lacking in the booziness of the fondue – it either didn’t have enough kirsch or none of it at all. The consistency of the cheese was a bit too watery as well – something a bit more solid when you stick your bread into it would be more ideal.
The chocolate fondue, however, was spot on. It was the right level of milkiness, and not too sweet or bitter. The strawberries went quickly, as did the marshmallows, and you could see around the table there were thoughts of just sticking a spoon into the pot as a quicker way to get at the chocolate!
Bedford & Strand itself is located in a basement, and at dinner is a cosy and dim-lighted dining experience – it feels the kind of place ideal for a casual dinner after work, with friends or colleagues, although the dimness suggests a more romantic venue, but I struggle to see a romantic atmosphere as the place is quite echo-ey being completely enclosed. One benefit of Bedford & Strand compared to all the above-ground restaurants in the Charing Cross / Covent Garden area is that because of its well hidden location, it’s very much an un-touristy place.
Price-wise, the fondues are rather reasonable, at £17.50 for the cheese fondue and £8.50 for the chocolate. My recommendation is definitely go for the chocolate fondue for dessert, and try something else from the menu for the main course. A very reasonable price at £8.50, it’s a great dessert to share between two people.
Pictures of the cheese & chocolate fondues provided by management – as it was too dark inside to take better pictures that evening:
Bedford & Strand
Address: Basement, 1A Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HH
Nearest tube station: Charing Cross tube station
Reservations: 020 7836 3033