For so long I have wanted to eat at the infamous L’Escargot, many a time passing by and wondering when I would eventually walk in.
Finally, it happened.
The restaurant has a sexy cosy feel, quite dark with blood red walls, dark wood contours, gold strips and old-fashioned mirrors; dark wood table and black leather chairs, an old Persian carpet in the middle of the room; lit with candlelight, an crystal Art Deco candelabra on dimmer and urn-shaped light on the side of the bar.
Silver is beautiful and I really like the style, and each dish is served in a different style of plate, which offers a unique approach to presentation.
The atmosphere is a lot more relaxed than I would have expected, but still bear some standard.
The toilets have seen better days, and feels passé, like the décor, with broken or missing wall tiles, a broken sink base, and doors jammed to the floor, requiring a very strong hand to push and pull.
looks great and smell just as fine, the kick of the espresso awaking the taste buds.
Passion Fruit Mojito
Simply divine and not the tiny ice-filled glass usually proposed in hip bars, but an old-fashioned that looks just grand.
Chilli Crab, Radish & Pickles Cucumber £16.00
Quite lovely, even better with a splash of the lemon juice from the half lemon placed on the plate
Chilled Pea & Mint Soup with Peashoots (V) £6.00
Wonderful. Smooth and very tasty, if may be a bit too warm.
Steak Tartare £12.00
Portion is just unbelievably tiny, the delicately placed yolk ‘huge’ in the middle.
Steak is cut with a knife, which makes it nice and chewy, and very enjoyable.
Chicken Liver Parfait, Toasted Brioche £9.00
The traditional ‘Parisian’ terrine slice, which is surprisingly smooth and very delicate, and subtle flavours. .
Chicken Snitchel £15.00
Not nice at all, whichever way I want to comment on it. Fried breaded chicken wit an overwhelming taste of burned butter, and the meat, so, so very tough.
½ Grilled lobster, Garlic Butter £18.00
Looks amazing served in a black plate, but that’s all you get on the plate. A £5–8.00 extra side must be added to make a meal out of this dish; therefore, opted for the Frites (French Fries), something I never order, but I could not find any other suitable side. They were very nice indeed; therefore, they truly felt like a treat.
Confit of Duck with Pak Choi, Chilli & Garlic £18.00
Looks as simple, again offered with little accompaniments, and ordering sides is a prerogative.
Lobster Linguine £28.00
I always make a point at refusing to order pasta dish in a restaurant, for it is bound to be simple and far from surprising, but I was there to sample as many different dishes as possible. The presentation is basic, although, in how many ways can you served linguine. The dish is as basic, but the flavours deep, with a spicy bisque sauce.
Chocolate Soufflé £12.00 (20 mins)
The soufflé is theatrical enough to light up any meal. It is enormous too!!!
Rich dark cocoa flavours and perfectly sweetened.
Crème Brûlée £8.00
To my surprise is very smooth, the caramel layer thick and crunchy, and delicious, but it is served far too warm to my taste, may be because the caramel is too thick to keep the Crème Brûlée nice and chilled.
Peach Tart Fine £8.00
Looks amazing, but just doesn’t work for me. The puff pastry is so hard to cut; it should be served with a knife, like a tart should anyway.
Classic Lemon Tart £8.00
Very zingy. Great to refresh the palate from a heavy meal. It is caramel topped, in a Crème Brûlée style, with a quite pleasing texture, contrasting with the smooth lemon filling.
What looks like a scoop of Vanilla ice cream is in fact Crème Fraîche, the surprise not welcomed. Not pleasing and just too much of it – unnecessary –, the dessert rich enough.
The Shortcrust base is not fully cooked and just does not work for me.
Overall the food served is ok, but does not feel extraordinary.
I do not quite grasp the “lazy” concept of a menu to fit all, and I would really love to see other courses than the “whatever”-and-chips. I understand the restaurant has to adapt to the demand and propose a pre/post-theatre menu. But a place like L’Escargot has no excuse not to propose at least two different menus: a set menu and “à-la-carte.
The restaurant is, quite surprisingly, also dog friendly.
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Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.