Revolve restaurant review: rotating guest chef restaurant in the heart of the City – Time Out London

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Sorry, Revolve, but my evening didn’t start so well. Firstly the rain, as I weaved through the glistening Shoreditch streets, was biblical. And I’d forgotten my brolly. Then there was the hellhole of Broadgate Circle itself, with inexplicably limited access – closed footpaths and ear-shattering construction everywhere. And thirdly, at neighbouring corporate pub The Botanist, arriving drenched to meet my friend, I was barked at by the door attendant to remove my (Folk!) cap. Even to this lifelong Londoner, the City and its weird customs remain unfathomably alien.
Thankfully, things improved when we ascended to the upper level of the circle and through the doors of Revolve. This new brasserie is inspired by the grand dining institutions of Paris and New York but also invites top guest chefs to take over the kitchen. The reality is less haughty, more homely: despite the chaotic location, the dining room feels tranquil – more laidback neighbourhood hangout than City staple. And as the rain eased, the evening sun streamed in over the restaurant’s parquet flooring, illuminating the handful of couples having tête-à-tête dinner. Things were rowdier beyond the glazed panel in the bar area with the post-work brigade, while the terrace, populated by a brave soul or two puffing away, would surely be buzzing on a warmer night. 
Head chef Arran Smith has done time at Scott’s of Mayfair, and such classicism is more than apparent in the menu, with oyster, escargot, dover sole meunière and fish pie all making an appearance. The must-order? A fabulous shellfish cocktail – as pinkly retro as that sounds – all shredded lettuce and vivid green whorls of avocado, its dessert-level sweetness heightened by an indulgent mix of lobster, brown shrimp, king prawn and crab. 
I also rated the delicately opaque poached chalk-stream trout: straddling ribbons of braised fennel, its rosy flesh lay piled high with a hillock of buttery bronzed almonds. Brasserie classic chargrilled bavette felt like excellent value for the City: juicily ruddy, its umami-laden richness was heightened by an accompanying scoop of beef marrowbone. Even the french fries – which should, of course, never be an afterthought – are made from Koffmann’s potatoes (a brand endorsed by the legendary three-Michelin-starred chef) and liberally scattered with rosemary salt: an unexpected, fought-over highlight.
There were a couple of notes-to-selves. An unctuous onion tarte tatin starter, its sticky balsamic-roasted alliums flecked with goat’s cheese and rocket, was a whopper. Too filling to finish between two, it would be a more sensible sharer for four. And, from a short list of desserts, the chocolate fondant was overdone, its centre disappointingly unmolten. And yet, coupled with salted caramel ice cream, it still punched out some flavour. The fondant’s impact was, however, trounced by outstanding Espresso Martinis, their bittersweet notes joyously balanced. Cocktails here are a strength: a Vesper Martini was also unbeatable.
Service was politely old school, almost reminiscent of a bygone era, and certainly an interesting counterpoint to such a futuristic development. ‘Sorry, I talk too much,’ said our affable Romanian waiter at one point, before continuing to chat, as if it was a slow night down the local. 
Despite the simplicity of the menu, more innovative collabs are promised this summer, with a guest-chef programme bringing in dishes from A-list culinary talent such as Lee Westcott, Anna Hansen and Ynyshir’s two-Michelin-starred Gareth Ward. Revolve, it seems, is well worth a spin. 
The vibe Date night. A relaxed, airy City brasserie for an easygoing evening with your new squeeze or life partner. 
The food Well-executed French standards with a modern twist or two – and prices that are sensible for the City. 
The drink Top-notch cocktails and a wine list that starts at a not-unreasonable £27 a bottle.
Time Out tip Order a side bowl of English peas à la française – it’s a verdant flavour bomb of smoked bacon, peas, shallots, herbs and baby gem lettuce.
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