I'VE been pretty lucky on both my previous visits to French restaurant brand Côte. The first was to their Windsor branch - a beautiful riverside location on a lovely summer day while the second was to their franchise in Liverpool and it was on my parents.

On both occasions the food was exceptionally good and so when my wife and I were in Chester on a particularly damp day we decided to check out the city's branch with high expectations.

The 140-cover venue launched in Bridge Street last year after a £1m investment to create Côte’s trademark chic Parisian-style ambience and the grade II-listed property has been carefully refurbished to expose stonework and timber beams.

At £10.95 for two courses and £12.95 for three courses the new weekday lunch and early evening set menu offers an affordable dining experience and the food really is exceptional.

My wife chose the vichyssoise soup with truffle oil and was given the option of having it hot or cold. She opted for hot after advice remarking that it was impressive that staff members were all knowledgeable about the new menu and had tasted it that day. While a creamy leek and potato soup wouldn't normally be my choice, I was allowed a mouthful and can support my wife's opinion that it was really good and full of flavour.

The veggie option on the set menu was butternut squash risotto which also went down well while the kids had a croque monsieur and chips and a mini portion of the green risotto...which I'm embarrassed to say I finished the next day.

In an uncharacteristic healthy mood I opted for the baby gem salad with bacon lardons, walnuts, egg, tomato and a mustard dressing which set me up perfectly for my main course of grilled smoked Toulouse sausages with braised Puy lentils, carrots and Dijonnaise. A truly comforting dish and something of a bistro classic, the earthiness of the lentils complemented the meaty Toulouse sausages perfectly with a slice of crusty bread completing the picture.

A special word must also go to the staff at Cote. A few minutes into our meal my youngest daughter bit into her glass and cut her mouth open. The waitress and manager were superb, quickly arriving with first aid and even replacing our drinks and starters. Just like the food they were a credit to the restaurant.

How it rated:

Côte Brasserie, 36 Bridge St, Chester CH1 1NQ

Ambience - 8/10

Service - 10/10

Food quality - 9/10

Children welcome - yes

The bill:

2 x set menu: £21.90

1 x kids menu: £5.50

1 x kids menu: £5.50

2 x Meteor beer: £7.90

1x orange juice: £2.65

1 x bread: £2.50

1 x olives: £2.80