It is not often that I leave a restaurant and think ‘wow', from start to finish. Whilst the food and the service at restaurants I visit can often be described as satisfactory, they rarely go both hand in hand at blowing me away. Unless of course I have a table booked in a 5 star restaurant where a bottle of wine costs requires you to remortgage.

However, I’ve found a true gem and cannot wait to go back for more. Let me introduce you to; Côte Brasserie. A brilliant little French cuisine restaurant that we was invited along to review. They have restaurants dotted all over, but we visited the Bluewater branch in Kent.

We had never tried French food before, so it was something new for us to experience together, whilst also offering me the chance the explore the Bluewater shopping centre for the first time, despite not living too far from it.

Bluewater is like no other shopping centre I have been to before and it requires more than a few hours to really get to grips with the layout and where certain places are located. The building is essentially a giant dome, so you’re walking in one big circle from A to B, rather than straight down and back. It took us 10-15 minutes to find Côte Brasserie, but there’s big maps dotted around, which made it easier for us to locate.

We soon found the restaurant and and had a table booked for 2pm. I thought it would be nice to have an earlier meal, so that we could do some shopping afterwards.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a small queue of people outside the restaurant waiting for tables and upon approaching the windows, could see the restaurant bustling with a mix of different kinds of people. Whilst it can be annoying to wait for a table as a paying customer, a busy restaurant shows popularity and with people actually queuing to wait for a table, we couldn’t wait to get inside and see what the fuss was all about.

I showed our booking confirmation to the front of house staff and the lady knew of my press booking and immediately sat us down at a cosy table in the middle of the restaurant, tucked away from people which gave me a better chance for snapping photographs of the scrumptious dishes.

Our waiter came over and introduced himself, presenting us with menus that had a vast selection of different modern French dishes. I tend to not look at menus before attending restaurants for review, so to save the surprise.

He then brought us over two glasses of what looked like red wine and explained they was compliments of the restaurant manager. I was about to say thank you and that due to being pregnant, I wouldn’t be able to drink it. However, before I could explain, he congratulated me on my pregnancy and explained that my drink was a cranberry juice, whilst Ricky’s was a rosè wine. I thought this was such a lovely touch and went to show that the staff were attentive as soon as I arrived. I hadn’t told the PR or the restaurant I was pregnant beforehand.

Our starters came shortly after sampling Cotê Brasserie’s home made bread and trio of oils and olives. You could really tell the bread was freshly made, which is always nice to know that it’s not being sitting inside a bag for a few days.

Ricky did his classic move and ordered the Calamari (£6.75). He tends to order this if it's on the menyuat new restaurants we visit reported back that these were the best ones he's ever tried! The classic squid in breadcrumbs is sautéed in garlic, lemon and parsley; accompanied with tartare sauce.

I'm not a fan of squid and due to pregnancy, was unable to try their many fish dishes, raw steak or chicken liver pate (something to also bare in mind if you're a pregnant customer). So, it was between trying the French onion soup (£5.95) or the delicious sounding Prawn Gratinèe (£7.95). King prawns are soaked in a creamy white wine, garlic, chilli and tomato sauce - with toasted garlic and croutons to add some crunch.

These were absolutely scrumptious and something I would love to try and cook at home.  The king prawns were soft and very meaty - whilst the tomato sauce had a slight kick to it and an added crunch due to the croutons. Beautiful. The waiter did remind me that the dish contained a small sample of white wine, which again I thought was very professional. However, I personally found there was no harm in a tiny bit of white wine being diluted into a sauce. 

The mains menu leaves you feeling spoilt for choice. There's a vast range of options from meat, fish, steaks and lighter mains.

Ricky did the opposite for his main and ordered something he's never tried before. The Beef Bourguigon (£16.50) is served with a generous portion of traditional stewed beef, with potato, chive purèe, bacon lardons and chestnut mushrooms - with a heart shaped crouton to soak up all of the juices. Mmm-mmmm!

I ordered the Half Chargrilled Poulet Breton Chicken (£11.95), which was predicted was absolutely delicious and very much recommended! The corn fed chickens are reared in rural Brittany, France and then shipped over to England for the finest chicken on menus you can find. Accompanied with a salsa dip and some fries - what more can you ask for?

Lastly, it was time to raid the dessert menu and choose something naughty but sweet to eat.

I couldn't believe it when Ricky didn't order something chocolate related. He usually always orders a chocolate brownie and with two chocolate options on the dessert menu, he chose to order the Tarte au Citron (£5.75). Think of this as a traditional lemon tart, with a dollop of cream fraiche and some fresh raspberries. Delicious!

I ordered the Tarte Fine aux Pommes (£6.25), which I had to compliment the chef on afterwards. A fine layer of sliced and baked apples are layered onto a puff pastry tart; finished with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. The apples were delicious and this was a different option to a traditional apple pie!

We had such a splendid time at Cote Brasserie and cannot recommend the food and service enough. The food and service are of a high quality and no customer is forgotten or put to the back of a list. It's a thumbs up from us!

Disclaimer: We was invited for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.

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