I don't usually bother too much looking at or reading reviews of restaurants before I visit as I would rather go along with an open mind and not have my judgement clouded by the views of others. However, before my recent excursion to Le Colombier , a long established classic French establishment in Chelsea, I did take a glance at some of the experiences of recent diners.

And their comments made pretty good reading. One recent diner said: “Almost like being in France, and similar complimentary remarks followed, 'Classical food but great execution', 'That's what I call a good restaurant' 'Consistently excellent', 'Good honest French cuisine.

So everything seemed well set for my early Friday evening dinner date at a restaurant which has been serving the good folk of Chelsea and beyond since the late 1990s when it was opened by restaurateur Didier Garnier.

Situated in the comfortable surroundings of Dovehouse Street, which sits between Fulham Road and Kings Road, the restaurant occupies a corner site and its distinctive blue canopied frontage provides an attractive backdrop from the road.

Everything about Le Colombier is very French from its staff to the menu bristling with classic dishes and the traditional but simple blue and cream brasserie style décor. You could quite easily be sitting on any street corner in chic Paris rather than its pleasant Chelsea neighbourhood setting.

Everything about Le Colombier is very French from its staff to the menu
Everything about Le Colombier is very French from its staff to the menu
 

We sat in the large bright and airy conservative area at the front of the restaurant, which soon started to fill up along with the main eating area, creating a harmonious and relaxed atmosphere as the highly professional and cheerful staff went about their business with precision.

Things started well with some delicious fresh crunchy French bread and excellent butter and this very much set the course for what was to follow.

My starter of steak tartare (£11.90) which was seasoned to perfection and bolstered by tasty additions of gherkins and capers adding to the flavour and balance really hit the spot. Fiona was equally impressed by her tasty and attractively presented duck liver terrine with fig jam (£12.90) served with a delicious light brioche.

We hooked into a bottle of 2013 Coteaux Varois en Provence rose, which was good value at £27.50, with its fresh fruity notes proving complimentary to the food we ordered, in particular our main fish dishes.

I really could not fault my perfectly poached wild turbot (£32) served simply with broccoli, boiled potatoes and a very decent classical hollandaise sauce. It was a simple perfectly cooked and seasoned plate of food, with every element working well together and a pure joy to my taste buds. It was the kind of dish the French do very well, nothing fancy just good honest well produced ingredients.

Fiona gave top marks to her immaculately cooked plump scallops (£23.90) served with ginger, spring onions, sesame oil and soya to create a lovely Asian tasting sauce which sat well with the delicate tasting scallops.

The first class execution of dishes was carried through to desert (both £7.90) where I thoroughly enjoyed an indulgent rich and airy chocolate mousse of perfect consistency, which delivered everything I desired. Fiona also had no complaints about her crepes suzette, topped with crystallised orange and further enhanced by a warming splash of grand marnier.

It was the perfect end to a thoroughly enjoyable evening of great tasting French cuisine and it's easy to see why Le Colombier has survived the test of time and gets so many glowing reviews from its diners, many of whom I suspect have become firm regulars at the restaurant.