French bourgeois cooking in London
I've been to four French restaurants over the last year or so. Last night it was Le Vacherin in Chiswick. A pretty room, busy but not too noisy. Crab raviolo was startlingly black (squid ink presumably) and bathed in a hollandaise-ish sauce with pieces of girolle. A friend's cheese souffle was even better. Confit duck was unctuous with a sticky reduced gravy and Puy lentils. Dessert was an extremely delicious tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream in crunchy butterscotch cups. The only downside was the service: we had to ask twice for our second bottle of wine and side vegetables, which eventually came when we had almost finished our main course.
The others were Chez Bruce in Wandsworth, La Trompette in Chiswick and Les Deux Salons near Trafalgar Square. The best of the bunch was Chez Bruce, which allows itself to widen the definition of French cuisine and has a delightful sommelier. The least good, though still enjoyable, was Les Deux Salons.
We happened to be near Deux Salons last week with a visiting relative of mine, so we dropped in for a late lunch. We didn't want much as we were having a large dinner that night. From what our chatty waiter told us, there are some new people in the kitchen and things are improving. I find it's a bit hit and miss there... some wonderful offerings like my husband's celeriac, apple and something soup. It was heavenly. My little cheese tart was OK, nothing great, and my cousin had a good salad with mushrooms on the side. The Paris Brest was in a different shape than last time, but still tasty. I really must get to Chez Bruce.. keep forgetting it's not far away.
I've gone from recommending LDS (Les Deux Salon, not Latter Day Saints) to suggesting other places when its recommended.
I love the room, and the vibe and menu are exactly what I like a lot of the time, but the food has gone from good for a brasserie to only a few steps above Cote.
I've only been to Le Vacherin once, food was great but service was not.
La Trompette was superb first time and only good the next time, though great value in both cases.
Not been to Deux Salons or Chez Bruce.
Loved Koffmann's and been meaning to go back for ages.
Can I recommend Racine which I think is super fabulous. Love Henry Harris' style both in terms of the menu itself and the vibe of the restaurant, which has professional service but retains a warmer feel than some places. And again, great value.