In light of upcoming holidays mainly and primarily Valentine’s Day I was kindly invited to review Cord by Le Cordon Bleu.

I will skip the introduction as I’m sure the name speaks for itself, the world renowned culinary school with more than 120 years heritage. The café, culinary event space and of course now the CORD by Le Cordon Bleu, opened in 2022.

The restaurant is first fine dining restaurant in London by the famed culinary arts institute right in the City of London in grade II listed building by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The official address is 85 Fleet Street although, Google maps tends to lead to the wrong door, the actual restaurant entrance is through a courtyard behind very tall doors.

CORD offers fine dining experience from start to finish. We’re greeted in most professional yet welcoming manner at the reception. Once our coats and umbrellas are kindly taken to the cloakroom we’re guided to the dining room.

It’s very spacious and airy with tables placed far apart allowing for that privacy. The furnishings are kept in accordance with the brand: white, blue, teal plush seating with golden touches.

We’re greeted by our waiter and offered a welcome glass of champagne while we browse the a la carte. The menu is quite short but it has dishes to please everyone from meat, fish to vegetarian.

My guest always orders beef so she decides for a glazed veal sweetbread as a starter and mushroom risotto for a main. I on the other hand, probably an orca in my past life choose crab ravioli followed by more sea creatures – seared sea bass.

To my delight I also learn that the sea bass is wild rather than farmed. It’s quite rare to find wild sea bass on the menu in the UK, normally it’s supplied from Turkish or Greek farms.

Drinks wise we’re recommended to go for wine pairing to what we happily consent to as we gaze at our mini sourdough boule with butter on the side. As soon as the waiter walks away we dig in.

The room temperature lightly salted butter melts on the bread’s perfectly soft and warm flesh (crumb) we have to pause again though as our amuse-bouche arrives. It’s sea bass roe in rose shaped beetroot thins on a bed of French marigold leaves.

The presentation is top level and the flavour is even better. Followed by our first wine, it’s Soli Bulgarian Pinot Noir for both of us. It’s young and elegant with Burgundy notes and light colours.

We set our side plates to make room for the arriving starters. The glaze is poured onto the veal sweetbread in front of my guest. Her starter is a good portion; I somehow expected it to be quite small.

The veal and the dough are incorporated together into airy light and moreish veal bread as the name suggests. Although, perhaps the dish is not as photogenic as my starter my guest and I are both really impressed by the flavour.

My starter – crab ravioli with micro greens, splashes of sauce and dots of colour is a showpiece. The starter is deconstructed with ultra thin ravioli dough, resembling rice paper a little bit.

The ends of the dough are not connected so it quite simply sits on top, allowing for plenty of crab filling, making it a light starter but with a good portion of the key ingredient – the crab.

We finish the starters in no time both using the remaining pieces of bread to soak up the sauces on our plates. We sip more of Pinot Noir and wait for our second course, which arrives in no time.

My guest’s mushroom risotto is looking so appetising that she grabs a folk forgetting about my picture taking tradition. I have to stop her for a second. Once again she is very pleased with her choice, even claiming it’s one of the best mushroom risottos she has tried.

I don’t disagree. It’s balanced and creamy with a good mushroom flavour and the al dente bite. There is also an interesting touch – the risotto is topped with roasted chickpeas.

Although I like risottos I’m more impressed with my sea bass, it’s served with fennel, potatoes on bouillabaisse jus bed. The skin is perfectly crisp while the meat is flaky and scrumptious. Even my non fish eating guest asks to try a little bit.

Next on our list is dessert, my guest is full but I manage to convince her to order the lightest dessert on the menu – burnt pineapple from the set menu.

While I’m torn between blackberry sorbet, chamomile sponge with herb cream and 70 percent dark chocolate mi-cuit. Concerned that the blackberry would be too herbal I go for the latter.

This is where I get a little disappointed, mi-cuit is actually just a chocolate fondant, which I somehow never knew. However, as far as fondants go, mi-cuit is good- spongy and moist just the way fondants should be but I just don’t like fondants in general. For me they are too simplistic, I prefer a mixture of sweet, sour and tangy flavours in desserts.

I make it work though with some help from my guest’s burnt pineapple, which is refreshing and tropical. We share the plates taking turns reaching out to each others desserts.

Elegant setting and superb flawless service CORD is a perfect place for a special occasion.

CORD by Le Cordon Bleu, 85 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1AE