The adventure starts when you arrive at the door. When my dining companion arrived, he thought that maybe this was a trick. What type of restaurant tells you to ring the door bell? It’s Soho, so maybe there is something dodgy going on inside… Yet the door bell adds a touch of class, preserving the tranquil environment inside and helps to keep the screaming riff-raff out.
Once you manage to negotiate your way inside, you are greeted by a dining room fit for royalty. Crisp white table cloths, tastefully upholstered chairs and discreetly placed staff, you might wonder if this is where the upper class retire to enjoy their repast.
Amuse bouches. Some fried tasty treat, avocado on a biscuit, cheese crisp and a cream pastry. I particularly like the cheese crisp as it was a great savoury warm up for the main event.
We were surprised by another little extra – cauliflower roasted, fried and creamed. Who knew that cauliflower could be done in so many different ways and taste so good. It had a very clean taste which when combined with the crunch of the vegetable just got me ready for more.
Wild mushroom risotto. I heard that risotto is one of the hardest dishes to cook right, as it is difficult to avoid the sogginess of the rice grains. Lucky for me, I do like soft soggy rice, which makes it easy to cook for myself. This dish though was very different. The risotto grains had all kept their structural integrity which was a delight for the tongue with the soft mushrooms on top. I had to stop myself from licking the plate at the end to make sure I got the last morsel. I thought it might be frowned upon in this establishment.
Sourdough and olive bread. Lucky for me, there was bread to help with this task instead of having to use my tongue. Sourdough and olive bread were good, although in my pickiness, I noted that they seemed to lack something to lift them up above the ordinary. Although pleasant, they felt like they were just a little above average. Nothing to write home about.
Black spot pork with carrots, spinach and mashed potatoes. This dish was good although I must complain, in my quest to find fault with everything, that the pork seemed a bit dry at parts. Maybe in an effort to address the more health conscious among diners, a super fatty and juicy park of pork, as I love to eat, was not used. Then again, that’s just me. I rather live a happy short life followed by a heart attack then eat bland tasteless healthy provisions for a long and boring life. No spice in that.
Lemon cream pre-dessert. Another unexpected extra while we were waiting with bated breath for the dessert. A smooth slightly creamy cream, mousse and sorbet preparing us for the reason why we came.
This. Ladies and gentlemen, this has to rank as one of the best dark chocolate mousse and praline I have ever had. The crunchiness of the praline, earthy flavours of the chocolate and the touch of a golden leaf on top makes this a rich dessert in more ways than one. Ok, I’ll pause there to let you bask in my witty discourse.
The meal was so good that I had to indulge in a little coffee to end. The atmosphere just seemed so gentrified, look at that saucer, that I felt that an appropriate end had to be coffee to give me energy to leave my seat.
Marshmallow, small cake and tart. The tart with chocolate and cream was a flavourful little bite, the marshmallow a welcome surprise but it was the little cake (I’m not sure what the correct term was) that stole the show. Buttery, light and with a little dollop of chocolate on top, it was a great way to end an excellent lunch.
The many different flavours and tastes when combined with the peace of the dining room, quality of the silverware and the discreet service at the very reasonable price was a sure winner for me. London needs more places like this. Comfortable, delicious French food in a cosy setting with the added bonus of significant bang for your buck. I think this has to rank as one of the best value places in London to enjoy haute cuisine. A meal worthy of a king.
A quiet eating 8/10.
Lunch (3 courses) was GBP25 excluding service and drinks.
21 Romilly Street,
London W1D 5AF