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6 Restaurants With Great Cheese Boards

By Mary Anne Evans
January 15, 2014

Londoners' love of cheese is relatively recent when compared with the French's, but we’re catching up fast, with great selections of cheeses from all over the world on offer. Some restaurants still have trolleys; others offer cheeseboards to share; here's where you can sample the dairy. Take note: if you really get into cheeses, they’ll take over your life - or at least your taste buds.

  • Soho: Blanchette

    This new French bistro serves the classics as sharing dishes, inevitably known as ‘French tapas’. The cheese board is a wonder to behold, with a selection of cheeses from producers from all over France: a Bleu des Causses from the Midi-Pyrénées (an alternative to Roquefort), a creamy Camembert from Normandy and the connoisseur’s blue cheese, Fourme d’Ambert, from the Auvergne sit alongside Alta Népita - a ewe's milk cheese from Corsica you won’t find in many places in London - and the equally unusual Saint Denis goats’ milk cheese from Poitou-Charentes.

    9 D'Arblay St., W1F 8DR; 020 7439 8100

  • Bloomsbury: Great Court Restaurant

    After a cultural tour of the world in the British Museum, take a break in the new Great Court Restaurant for thoroughly native cheeses made by small artisanal producers. Order a board of British cheese to share (from £16) or pick from individual selections (£7) of unpasteurised cheeses. Try James Montgomery’s classic nutty-flavoured cheddar; Riseley, a sheep’s milk cheese from Berkshire; mushroom-scented Brie de Meaux-like Baron Bigod made from cow’s milk in Bungay Norfolk; a dense and creamy Innes goat's milk log from Staffordshire; or Stichelton, a blue cheese made from milk from organically raised cows.

    Great Russell St., WC1B 3DG; 020 7323 8990

  • Mayfair: Murano

    Angela Hartnett’s hugely successful Murano is known for modern interpretations of French and Italian dishes using fresh British produce, so expect an international offering on their 25- to 30-strong cheeseboard. The selection includes just about everything you could wish for: hard, soft, washed, goat, blue, and cheeses made from both goat's and cow's milk. Some are well-known. Others are surprises: Boucanier, a small goat’s cheese from Provence, is smoked over beech wood for a distinct taste; Cumin Munster, a soft paste cheese from Alsace, features cumin seeds and a Muscadet-washed rind. You might also get cheeses from Spain, Switzerland and Ireland. Each board is completed with Murano’s own housemade chutney, caramelised nuts, biscuits and bread.

    20 Queen St., W1J 5PP; 020 7495 1127

  • Marylebone: Orrery

    Meals here are swaddled in unashamed luxury, so expect a superlative cheeseboard trundled to your table in traditional style. All are farmhouse cheeses, and most are French, though some come from England, Italy and Switzerland. The list of 25 or so cheeses divides into five families: hard, creamy, blue, goat and washed rind. Look for the aged unpasteurised cow’s milk Comté, a creamy Chaource from Champagne-Ardennes, a classic Valencay from the Berry region, and the powerfully rich Epoisses, a must-try that's washed with Marc de Bourgogne from the Cote d’Or region of Burgundy. If you’re still hungry, try the restaurant's own fresh goat’s cheese, marinated in herbs, garlic, chiles and juniper berries.

    55 Marylebone High St., W1U 5RB; 020 7616 8000

  • St. James: Seven Park Place by William Drabble

    If you judge a good restaurant by how seriously it takes its cheese board, Seven Park Place by William Drabble rockets to the top of the list. Seasonal cheeses are the attraction here, and the selection changes as the year unfolds. There’s an interesting lot coming up in February and March: look for the lightly charcoaled log of Golden Cross goat cheese, the flavour of which gets fuller as it matures. Although it’s likened to St Maure from the Loire Valley in France, this is a homegrown cheese from a family business established in 1989 with a herd of 300 happy goats. Golden Cross also provides a larger cutting version (Laughton Log) and a small fresh goat’s cheese (Chabis). See, too, the creamy Cote Hill Blue and a remarkable Single Gloucester (made by Jonathan Crump in Gloucestershire from the milk of rare Old Gloucester cows), which round out the selection.

    7-8 Park Pl., SW1A 1LS; 020 7316 1615

  • Maida Vale: Truscott Arms

    The Truscott Arms gastropub is relatively new to the block, so it’s good to see that it treats cheese with such respect. Different-sized cheese boards for one to five people (from £6 to £22) are all served with sourdough, crisp breads and homemade chutneys. The current selection includes a sharp Montgomery Cheddar, an Epoisses from Burgundy, a drippy Vacherin from the Swiss Jura, rich Cashel Blue from Ireland, and Grosmont -which, despite its French-sounding name, is a soft cow’s milk cheese washed with cider from Monmouthshire before it's aged in whisky or rum barrels. Wash it all down with a Quinta da Vallado 10-year-old Tawny port.

    55 Shirland Rd., W9 2JD; 020 7266 9198

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Places Mentioned

Orrery

French • Marylebone

Food23 Decor22 Service23 Cost£63
 
 
 
Murano

Italian • Mayfair

Food26 Decor22 Service24 Cost£81
 
 
 
Blanchette

French • Soho

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Seven Park Place by William Drabble

French • St. James's

Food24 Decor23 Service27 Cost£88
 
 
 
 
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