RESTAURANT REVIEW | L’Escargot26th May 2015
With a rather grand welcome from the fabulously loud front of house, we were taken to our seats giggling as he continued to tickle us with his wit.
The grand element continues, taking in our surroundings. It’s a posh crowd- a mix of business bods and rich romantics (one couple in particular really should have hired one of L’escargot’s private rooms). The lights are dim, and I find myself sinking into the comfy seat whilst admiring a lot of classic décor touches that surround us.
We were brought a selection of warm, homemade crusty breads with a moreish tapenade- being advised that the selection of tapenades and bread accompaniments often change seasonally. After forgetting completely where I was and asking for Prosecco in a French cuisine restaurant, we asked the sommelier’s recommendation on the Roses available. Rose has gained a better reputation recently and there are some lovely varieties out there now. We went for the Bandol Rosé, Dom. La Suffrene, C. Granvier, 2013 (£38.00). Which you have to try- fantastic. Their wine list is ridiculously extensive so you have plenty to suit your taste!
To start I went for the Foie Gras with kumquats & brioche (£18). Despite this being straight from the fridge kinda cold, the quality coming through was great, and they had not messed around with the dish at all- Foie Gras in it’s simplest and best form. Even the word kumquat makes me want to gag so these were left at the side of my plate.
My friend went for the Six Snails with garlic & parsley (£12). The snails were plump and came easily out of their shell. Great garlic flavour and the oil in the dish made an amazing dip for the bread, of which we were offered more of at this point.
After our table was “crumbed down”, our mains shortly followed. Clearly I had the taste for suffering that day as what followed my Foie Gras was a huge slab of Veal (£18)- a massive portion of well cooked meat in a light lemon breadcrumb. With the menu being a la carte we ordered a few sides that I found on the small side for their price.
Green beans cooked in garlic (£5) – perfectly cooked. Dauphinoise (£6) – there is never enough dauphinoise, but this portion of creamy garlic potatoes and cheese was minute. New potatoes (£5) cooked with herbs, these had slightly too much bite for my preference, but I always say rather al dente than mush with vegetables.
The other main we ordered was the Sea Bass – crispy skin and succulent flesh served with a sauce vert- lemon, cream, parsley. This really was a lovely dish and I’m not normally a fan of sea bass but the execution was flawless.
So very much looking forward to the desserts at a fine French restaurant, I was not disappointed. Cream cake extravaganza. The tarte du jour (£6) was an almond galette. Uber rich and uber tempting to re-create that Smack The Pony sketch with, where they face plant the dessert tray whilst slurring jibberish-French lingo.
Double teaming the cream cakes we also took on the Paris Brest – made with choux pastry, hazelnuts and bursting at the seams with cream. So simple but so good my favourite of the two. My love for praline is insatiable.
The food is very simple, but very well done. For me this is a restaurant serving fantastic food with seasonal changes, and a lovely professional (but humorous) team. I personally feel that the pricing is a little over, but L’escargot has been regularly voted one of the best French restaurants in London, so I would encourage you to take a look and experience for yourself.
An extra star goes for the venue itself. The venue of L’escargot is huge (four floors). You don’t quite realise being sat in the restaurant how many more levels and rooms there are to the place. With six rooms for hire, I feel this really gives L’escargot a unique edge.
The different rooms are named simply after the colour of them (Blue, Violet, Red etc.). There is also an upstairs exclusive club which you will need to contact L’escargot for more details on. But it is rather swanky up there, spotting some Versace home ware pieces as we walked through. Ask for the grand tour.
If you were to become a member it means you can take advantage of exclusive hire of any of their rooms, free of charge. Dinner packages are available pre and post-theatre (2 or 3 courses – £17.50/£21.50).
They also have a dog-friendly club policy offering complimentary food & treats for your pup.
REVIEWED BY: Jordan Lohan
ADDRESS: L’Escargot, 48 GREEK STREET, LONDON, SOHO, W1D 4EF
STAR RATING: ★★★★ (explained)
PRICE RATING: £££££ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: There is a discretionary 12.5% service charge added to your bill.