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Phil Howard of The Square Launches New Book Savoury 1

Phil Howard is one of Britains most respected chefs and he has been at the helm of The Square which he owns for 21 years. With Phil and his head chef, Rob Weston, leading the team at The Square, they have built up an excellent reputation and are continuing to delight their customers with their seasonal fine dining menu.

The Square Phil Howard

The fact that he is still very much hands on in the kitchen, maintaining the high standards, must play a large part in the team being awarded 2 Michelin Stars and holding them for 15 years.  At the recent National Restaurant Awards, Phil won the Chef’s Chef of The Year title.

For the launch of his new book, The Square: The Cookbook, Volume 1: Savoury, a group of us were invited to enjoy their tasting menu and to meet Phil.

My first visit to The Square was a while ago when they were still at Kings Street in St James. It was one of the trendy new contempary restaurants in London then and blazing the trail of modern British cooking and that meal was truly memorable.  I have not eaten at The Square in the last few years so I was very much looking forward to this evening.

Phil Howard’s aim at The Square is to use seasonal ingredients and delivering dishes that are both “delicious and nourishing to the soul” as he says in his new cookbook. The mantra of “seeing the dish as what it is and not how it came to be” defines the style of food that they serve here.

Comfortably ensconced in their private dining room, we started this epic meal with several amuse bouches(?) starting with a cone of foie gras mousse then a pumpkin and cepes arancini and then the most delightfully light squid ink rice cracker dipped in taramasalata. This was the beginning of our journey into the amazing flavours and textures, as done by The Square.

The Square Phil Howard

Continuing with an Autumn Minestrone with a Slow Cooked Quails Egg, Montgomery Stock, Tarte Fine of Savoury Onions and Cepes. The soup was lightly flavoured by the cheese, not overwhelming, lovely soft quails egg but the accompanying Tarte Fine was divine.

The Square Phil Howard

Next, the Rillette of Smoked Cornish Mackerel with a Vinaigrette of Poole Prawns, Oysters, Sea Water Jellies, Cucumber and Caviar. A combination of several balanced components of creamy rillettes, fresh prawns, oysters contrasted with the textures of the sea water jellies and cucumber. Light on the pallete and quite refreshing.

The Square Phil Howard

The next dish I absolutely loved: Roast Foie Gras with Crab Apple Glaze and Toasted Hazelnuts. The rich sensual flavour of the foie gras cut through with the tanginess of the caramelised quince and the crab apple tart. The crunchy honeycomb topping gave yet another contrasting texture. A sip of the Castelneau de Suduiraut Sauternes served with this dish just rounded it off perfectly.

The Square Phil Howard

Sauté of Scottish Langoustine Tails with Parmesan Gnocchi and an Emulsion of Potato and Truffle. Decadence on a plate, firm pieces of langoustine with a umami rich mouthful of parmesan gnocchi, all heightened by the aroma of the truffle.  This dish was matched with a Bourgogne Chardonnay 2010.

The Square Phil Howard

The Square Phil Howard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2010 Thomas Morey Burgundy

Onwards with another finely executed dish: perfectly cooked Fillet of Turbot with Autumn Truffle and Walnut Pesto and a Smoked Celeriac and Bay Milk Purée, served on a bed of Hispi cabbage. Loved the crunch of the nuts with every mouthful of turbot and the puree added another layer of flavour, totally awe inspiring. They selected a Chorey-Les-Beaune 2008 to go with the Turbot, fruity and light.

The Square Phil Howard

The Square Phil Howard Chorey-Les-Beaune 2008 Domaine Mailard, Burgundy

The Breast of Grouse with Turnip and Celeriac, Pearl Barley, Pancetta and Blackberries was not to everyone’s taste. I love the gamey flavour of grouse and here it was cooked in 2 different ways, a roasted breast, served pink and a little croustillant filled with the leg meat which I loved, and the jus that was on the plate was rich and immensely flavourful.

The wine paired with this was a rich and spicy Chateuneuf du Pape, Domane La Roquete 2004.

The Square Phil Howard Roast Grouse

Two blue cheeses followed: Perl Las and Barkham Blue Cheese with Quince and Walnuts, served with a crabapple pastry. The blue cheese defeated me as I find the flavours overwhelming, yes, even after the grouse.

The Square Phil Howard

The first of 2 sensational puddings was then presented : a Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Currants, the name of the dish does not do it justice. It is actually a cheesecake made with Brillat-Savarin topped with a redcurrant glaze, a blackcurrant ripple ice cream and a swiss roll topped with a dome of blackcurrant jelly. Loved the lightness of the cheesecake and the acidic flavours of the currants was a great palate cleanser after the last course.

The Square Phil Howard Blackcurrant cheesecake

To top off the tasting menu, we had a Plum Soufflé with Almond Ice Cream. Wonderfully light souffle with some plum conserve on the bottom and nutty toasted almond ice cream.

The Square Phil Howard Plum Souffle

We can’t leave this meal without mentioning the petite fours, an array of highly flavoured jellied fruits that will put a smile on anyone’s face and a plate of salted caramel honeycomb truffles. A total delight.

The Square Phil Howard

Did the Square deliver delicious food and nourishing to the soul?  Absolutely, in spades.

The Square

10 Bruton Street,

London W1J 6PU

Tel: 207 495 7100
Square on Urbanspoon

Review of Phil Howard’s new Cookbook

The Square: The Cookbook, Volume 1: Savoury

The Square Phil Howard

This cookbook is really massive and has taken Phil about 10 years to write, he tells us. He has written it to be a tangible documentation of his 21 years of service.

The book is a short biography of his culinary career. We follow him through the trials and tribulations at various kitchens that shaped him into the chef he is today. His early career was shaped by forays working for the Roux brothers, then at MPW’s Harveys and then Bibendum.

The recipes might seem a bit too cheffy at first but Phil has written them with full instructions to allow a reader to recreate these dishes at home. You might not have all the equipment necessary to make all these dishes but you can definitely use the ideas as inspirations of creating facsimiles of the dishes at home.

Phil was keen to emphasies that it is not a dumbed down version of his recipes and something that enthusiastic cooks can learn from.

In the beginning of the book , there is a basics section which covers making stocks which is a French technique that is basis of so many of the dishes in the book.

Every recipe has 4 sections, an overview, what to focus on, the components and most importantly the timings of each part. This really helps you envisage what is needed to recreate each dish. The photography is absolutely stunning and I think it is a great book to have to refer to and I am already inspired by some of the dishes and I know it will push me to try out some of the more complicated dishes that I have avoided cooking before.

You can buy The Square: The Cookbook, Volume 1: Savoury from Amazon at 36% off.

In conjunction with the launch of the cookbook, they have created some accompanying media where you can watch and listen to Phil Howard on Kitchen Foundation. Catch the podcast here and watch the videos here.

Video on Tools:

TOOLS

Video on Pasta Part 1

The Square – Kitchen Foundation PASTA (part 1)

The Square: The Cookbook, Volume 1: Savoury is available from Amazon.

SlowFood Kitchen was a guest of The Square

 

Claude Bosi at The Cube by Electrolux

 

The London skyline is quite spectacular. We don’t often get the chance to see London from a rooftop but this summer, a new venue has been installed on the top of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.

The Cube is a pop up restaurant sponsored by Electrolux that has already appeared in other big cities like Stockholm, Brussels and Milan. The Cube (A bit of poetic licence for those of you that are mathematically inclined) is mainly a terrace, a large glass box with an open kitchen and a long white table that is built on hydraulics that allows it to be lifted up to the ceiling.

Why is Electrolux sponsoring this? It seems that they supply high end kitchen equipment to the majority of the professional kitchens in the country and they want to highlight their domestic kitchen range too.

This is the list of top chefs from around the country who are lined up to cook at The Cube: Tom Kitchin, Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford, Tom Kitchin and Jonray & Peter Sanchez.

I was so thrilled that it would be Claude Bosi’s day when I was due to go for lunch. Claude Bosi is the two star chef of Hibiscus in Mayfair.

The Cube By Electrolux Claude Bosi

Claude Bosi

The event started with drinks and canapes on the terrace overlooking the Thames,  with gorgeous views towards the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.

The menu featured a lot of his specialties from Hibiscus. He said that as the kitchen equipment at The Cube was similar to his own kitchen, he was able to recreate a lot of the dishes from his restaurant menu.

Every course was introduced by Claude himself (which you can see in the video) and served personally by him and his chefs. The chefs were  working in the open kitchen that opens up to the dining area and diners were encouraged to go up and watch and ask questions. You can’t do that at a Michelin starred restaurant. You also don’t get served personally by the chef himself either so this was extra special.

Here is a short interview with Claude and clips of him introducing some of the dishes.

We were firstly served the signature Hibiscus Flower and pineapple soda. The hibiscus flower is Malaysia’s national flower but we never used to make drinks with it. The little shot glass of pink hibiscus flower topped up with pineapple soda was quite refreshing and gave a hint of what further unusual culinary combinations were about to appear.

The Cube By Electrolux

We started with Confit Asparagus with hollandaise made with hay smoked butter, served with  a confit  of orange and sugar. For  a dish that looks so simple, it was wrapped up in layers of flavours. Every course was accompanied by a wine which I’ve included in photos below.

The Cube By Electrolux
The Cube By Electrolux

Ribolla Gialla, Vigna Taverso 2011

This was followed by a summery New Caledonian prawn with a strawberry Sauce Vierge, in a green and red tomato juice. Strawberry and prawns, who knew that was a winning combination.

The next dish, Cornish cod with new season girolles, mushroom ketchup (the original ketchup) Lancashire mead and Jura Morteau Sausage. Perfectly cooked fish, highly flavoured accompaniments and especially like the cripsy fish skins on top to give that extra contrast in texture.

The Cube By Electrolux

Moris Vermentino, Maremma Toscana 2011

The next piece of culinary artistry was Label Anglais chicken (which Claude thinks is better than Bresse) served with seasonal English peas and pink grapefruit. Ahh, chicken that taste like chicken contrasted with the slightly astringent pink grapefruit sauce.

The Cube By Electrolux

The Cube By Electrolux

SOC Grenache Blanc, Domaine Ey 2009

For pre-desert we were served another shot glass which looked exactly like the first but the contents were completely different. This time it was filled with Charlotte Strawberry jelly and Szechuan pepper foam. The Szechuan pepper foam was made by infusing the pepper in warm custard. Who would have thought that mixing up ever thought of using Szechuan pepper in a dessert? This was very refreshing and left your mouth a little numb from the pepper.

The desert itself was another specialty from Hibiscus. From just looking at it, it was impossible to work out the ingredients and is we were told to taste it and guess. From tasting it all sorts of unexpected flavours were coming up like asparagus, olives and coconut. It was actually made with white asparagus and the dots of black olives provided further confusion to the taste buds. It all came together incredibly well.

The Cube By Electrolux

Mystery Dessert

The Cube By Electrolux

Royal Tokaji Late Harvest, Hungary 2009

It takes a lot of experimentation and creativity to create a menu with the combinations of these ingredients. Claude Bosi is a genius and it was nice that he had time to chat and do our little video interview too.

The last thing that deserves a mention are the little “Aero” petit fours in three flavours dark chocolate, thyme and lemon verbena. They melted like perfumed air.

Dining at The Cube is a really fun experience. It might not be quite the same as dining at the chef’s own Michelin starred restaurant but this is a chance to get up close and personal with the chef and if you don’t mind sharing a table with strangers.

Even for London this is quite an unusual and unique dining experience, and if you like your food and wine, don’t miss out.

Electrolux is running this special event over the summer unitl the end of September. You can find out more details here. http://www.electrolux.co.uk/Cube/London

The Cube by Electrolux

The Royal Festival Hall

London SE1

tel: 020 7288 6450.

Open daily, lunch at 12pm, £175; dinner 7pm, £215 (price includes champagne reception, minimum six-course tasting menu and wines.) Reservations can be taken up to 4 weeks in advance. The booking line is open 10am – 7pm, 7 days per week.

Details of Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus Restaurant here.

Slow Food Kitchen was a guest of Electrolux

10 Cases Bistro, Covent Garden – A little gem

Small but perfectly formed 10 Cases, a British Bistro,  is a relative newcomer in Covent Garden.  There are not many tables but they have a bar you can perch on for a quick drink or some outside tables if you want to brave the elements.  It is run and operated by 2 newcomers to the restaurant world, Ian Campbell and Will Palmer.

As there are only 2 people in the kitchen, the menu is short and sweet, which is chalked up on overhead blackboards on the wall. On this visit, we had a starter of garlic snails on toast, which kicked off the meal with a garlicky hit. Well executed, crisp toast, properly seasoned but be warned, enough garlic to fell a vampire from a mile away. (Not suitable date food!)

10 Cases Garlic snails

For mains there were only 3 choices, so we had was the Steak with Foie Gras, a nice chunk of beef fillet topped up with foie gras, simple presentation but ate well. Nothing to fault there.  and the Poached Tornedos, which we found out that the beef was very quickly poached which surprisingly was very tender. Both were served with no frills accompaniements. The meat was supposedly Scottish beef but the waitress didn’t know much more.

10 Cases

10 Cases

The name give you a hint as to the choice on the wine list. They buy only 10 cases of whites and reds and at any one time, there are 10 choices on offer. Every wine is available by the glass or bottle. Prices per glass range from £5- £9 and there is not an excessive mark up. If you just wanted a drink, you have to sit at the bar as the tables are often reserved for diners.

On the evening we were there, it was very busy. People who walked in were turned away so do book if you wanted to eat here. It’s a welcome addition to Covent Garden, a simple approach, done well.

A meal for 2 with a couple of glasses of wine, about £80.

The 10 Cases on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

Laurent Perrier’s Champagne Pairing Christmas Menu at The Greenhouse

Nestled at the back of a block of flats in Mayfair, hidden behind a landscaped garden, you find a winding path lit by twinkly lights, which leads down to The Michelin starred Greenhouse restaurant. It was here that we were recently invited to experience their Christmas Menu hosted by Laurent Perrier,  Champagne pairing with fine French food.

On entry to The Greenhouse we were warmly greeted with a glass of bubbly, the first of many of Laurent Perrier’s range of champagne.
Chef Antonin Bonnet and the Laurent Perrier team had designed a menu to complement 5 prestigious Champagnes . His festive menu had hints of Asian influence which he introduces with a lightness of touch and the flavours did not overpower or clash.

Laurent Perrier is run by the Nonancourt sisters who are carrying the tradition of their father Bernard, maintaining its position as one of the largest independent Champagne brands in the world. What’s really impressive for a commercial wine producer is that they have introduced sustainable grape growing and implemented environmentally friendly policies in all its activities.

Ensconced in the private glass walled dining room at the edge of the main dining room, we could see that the elegant main dining room was quite full and buzzing. The clientele seem to be a mix of suits and Mayfair locals.
Following an Amuse Bouche served in an egg shell, we start with an  Apple Cider Marinated Mackerel with horseradish snow and pickled black radish. The lightly pickled super fresh mackerel contrasted with the texture of the radish, creating delightful flavours.

The Greenhouse Apple Cider Marinated Mackerel

Accompanying the meal, we were presented with a basket of breads and the outstanding one was the buttery roll, rich and flaky, could have eaten a whole basket of that.

This course was paired with the extra dry Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut, with no added sugar, it’s citrusy but  intense, a great partner for this fish dish.

The next course was Atlantic Cod with leek fondue, smoked potato, yuzu and Champagne sauce. Exact cooking of the fish and a light enhancement with Yuzu which can sometimes be  overpowering. The Laurent Perrier vintage 2002 accompanied this dish, bottle-aged for 8 years, its ripe fruit and honey flavours was a good match.

The Greenhouse Atlantic Cod
Atlantic Cod with leek fondue , smoked potato,yuzu and Champagne sauce

Just when we thought that the inventive combination of flavours could not be topped, the next dish of Poached Scottish Lobster with cep mushroom ravioli, chicken oyster and lobster bisque was just stuning. Interesting texture to the cep ravioli where it was fried rather than boiled providing a contrast to the poached lobster.

The Greenhouse Poached Scottish Lobster

The Champagne that was paired with this dish was the favourite of the evening. It was the Laurent Perrier Grand Cuvee- Grand Siecle which was the only bottle to be poured from its sexy black bottle from its own cradle.

This is their first multi vintage prestige cuvee and has been aged from over 6 years. This Champagne has a long history and was inspired by old tasting notebooks of the cellar masters. Smooth, complex, more please.  All this being expertly served by The Greenhouse’s charming sommelier, Marc Piquet.

The Greenhouse Laurent Perrier Grand Cuvee Grand Siecle

A couple of sweet course followed, starting with  Pineapple Sorbet with Coconut foam. This was paired with the Laurent Perrier Demi Sec.

The Greenhouse Pineapple Sorbet

The second was a delicious tangy Rhubard and Apple Millefeulle with pear sorbet, paired with the Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose, made from pinot noir using the unique saignee method and tasting of berries. The perfect choice for special occassions.

The Greenhouse Rhubard and Apple Millefeulle with pear sorbet

To top off this superb evening of sophisticated food, excellent Champagne, we ended with a delightful selection of petit fours.

The Greenhouse is one of the restaurants in the stable of the Marc Group and seems to have positioned themselves perfectly for their clientele.

The Laurent-Perrier champagne-pairing menu will be available at The Greenhouse restaurant from 15 November until the end of December 2011, priced at £240 per person, including champagne.

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon

Fabulous Pierre Koffman at the Berkeley

Pierre Koffman of Tante Clare fame has reopened a restaurant in London at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. It has taken over the old Boxwood cafe and they have made quite a transformation, it looks more formal but brighter, whereas Boxwood seemed very dimly lit.

I was invited for lunch here a while ago and must say they have certainly made an impression. I saw that Christina Ong, the Singaporean socialite who owns half of Bond Street and the Met Hotel was lunching there too. Although she is very low key, she is a trendsetter and this certainly gives Pierre Koffman’s the right kind of endorsement.

Pierre Koffmann Berkeley Hotel

The tables are A table with a view of the kitchen.

Pierre Koffmann Berkeley Hotel

On my recent visit for lunch with a couple of friends, I was quite interested to see what dishes were on offer but had no expectations. This tiny morsel was a gentle introduction to the genius of flavours that was yet to come.

Pierre Koffmann Berkeley Hotel

Superb bread, I especially liked the bacon croissant thingy and I could have happily eaten my way through the bread basket.

Pierre Koffmann Berkeley Hotel

Herb Risotto with snails Pierre Koffmann Berkeley Hotel

Herb risotto with snails

A superbly rich Langoustine and crab soup.

Langoustine and crab soup Pierre Koffmann

As I was dining with friends who knew the management, we got a couple of surprises that we didn’t order, to begin with, a taste of the famous Scallops with Squid Ink. It certainly lived up to its reputation. Delicious.

Scallops with squid ink Pierre Koffman

The Beautifully pink duck breasts with green peppercorns.

Duck Breast with green peppercorns

Wing of pheasant with potato pancake and pumpkin

Wing of pheasant with potato pancake and pumpkin

Even the side dishes were great, lovely crispy pommes frites and slightly sweet carrots with cumin seeds.

Pierre Koffman Berkeley HotelCarrots with cumin seeds Pierre Koffman

All through the meal, we kept getting a waft of a very ripe cheese. We had to have a taste of this and had a selection of English cheeses.

Cheese Board Pierre Koffman

A great lunch is of course not complete without a great pudding and these did not disappoint. Lemon Tart with light flaky pastry and tangy lemon filling.

Lemon Tart Pierre Koffmann

Lemon Tart

The apple tart with calvados ice cream.

Apple Tart with calvados ice cream Pierre Koffman

Apple Tart with calvados ice cream Pierre Koffman

A word about the wine list, there is a very large selection and as I was with some wine experts, they had several outstanding wines served by the glass, including a very stunning bottle from the old La Tante Claire cellar (saved for the special customers, I think).

Never ending goodies – delicious Madeleines with the coffeee.

Madeleines Pierre Koffmann

As expected, the service was professional, attentive but not overbearing. The food was excellent, fabulous cooking, brave flavours, delightful combinations of unexpected ingredients.  If you have not eaten here, don’t wait, book a table soon. Koffmanns is a superb addition to the London Restaurant scene.

The set lunch menu is a very reasonable £25.50 for 3 course, especially for this quality of food.  Will definitely be back again very soon.

Koffmann's on Urbanspoon

Pierre Koffmann

Cafe Luc – a mixed bag

It amuses me to watch how restaurants market themselves and how they use social media as a tool to generate pr and business. Recently, Cafe Luc in Marylebone ran a much hyped £1 promotion, which on the surface seemed as if you could get a meal for £1.

This hype reverberated around the net like a fever and generated a lot of buzz and retweets. The instructions were not unlike that of a treasure hunt where at a given time, you had to get onto their website and try your luck at getting one of those coveted spots. Great use of Scarcity here. The launch of this whole £1 offer was done very well as it created the desired effect in generating buzz and gaining them a lot of air time on social media platforms.

So I was lucky enough to snag a booking for dinner one evening during the promotion period and was quite looking forward to the meal if the reputation was anything to go by.  Cafe Luc is opened by the father and daugher team from Belgium, Luc and Julie van Oostende.

Cafe Luc London

When we arrived at 7.30, the place was empty except for 1 table. As the evening progressed, it got a bit busier but was not even half full. Not sure if the fake scarcity marketing technique worked for them. We had a very charming French waiter on his first day and when we asked for the name of the manager, he had no idea. I guess there was no training or communication there. As we sat down, the manager came over with a grubby printout pointing out the small print of our booking to actually explain that only one person will get the meal at £1 whereas one person would have to pay the full price. By the condition of that tatty piece of paper, some people must have questioned this issue before.

So this deal was for a set menu priced at £15.90 for 3 course, which on the face of it is quite a good deal.

We started with smoked salmon on a supermarket bought English muffin and a duck salad which was perfectly edible.

Smoked Salmon Cafe Luc

Duck Salad Cafe Luc

We both ordered the steak for main course, one medium, one medium well.We asked the waiter what cut of steak it was and he confidently told us that it was rump. A couple of minutes later, the manager came over to say that the waiter got it wrong and it was not rump but silverside and helpfully added, “at that price, what do you expect.”

This is what we got.

What is wrong with the next 2 pictures?

Shrunk steak Cafe Lucsteak cafe luc

Notice the size? Perplexed by the difference in size, we asked the waiter and he didn’t know and asked the manager who duly told us “as it was cooked more, it had shrunk! ” That is a first.

Steak will only shrink if it was grain fed and not grass fed. Especially grain fattened meat prior to slaughter, causing the meat to retain a lot of water, pushing up the carcass weight. This equals poor quality and flavour but loads more dosh for the farmer, but I digress.

Not a great steak and was probably prejudiced by the managers comment earlier. The chips that came with the steak were stale and tasted like badly cooked oven chips.

The best part of the meal was the very rich Nutella Creme Brulee. Their Lemon Tart was not bad too.

Nutella Creme Bruleelemon tart cafe luc

That was not a great first impression of Cafe Luc. If their intention was to get more people to try their food, they failed miserably in making a good impression. Would I go back? Probably not. Lots of better places to eat in Marylebone like the Providores.

Cafe Luc on Urbanspoon

Les Deux Salons Debuts in Covent Garden

One step into Les Deux Salons transports you to Paris, more specifically an oldy worldy Parisian Brasserie. The team behind Arbutus and Wild Honey, Anthony Demetre and Will Smith have opened a new French Brasserie in Covent Garden. No expense spared to transform this old bar into an aged French Brasserie, with antiqued mirrors, well spaced tables and all. The restaurant is on 2 floors with 250 covers, which is the largest venture for the team in London to date.

Les Deux Salons Covent Garden

A couple of Tweets were sent around when bookings opened and I secured a lunch booking on the first day, as it was the only day that my dining companion was free for lunch. On the day, we were the 3rd table to arrive and one of the first customers to be guinea pigs to test out their new team.

The first thing we noticed was that there were a lot of staff hovering around, looking bewildered. Where we were seated, we couldn’t help but watch the confusion of the staff bringing the food out of the kitchen and staff on the floor working out the table numbers.  We found out later that they were totally overstaffed on that first day as most the staff were new and needed training. As the lunch crowd drifted in, it was surprisingly not full as they kept the crowds down to allow the kitchen to get up to speed. We were told that it was all hands on deck in the kitchen as well with several chefs including Anthony in the kitchen that day.

Les Deux Salons Covent Garden

We kicked off with the Lamb sweetbreads, “Bouchee a la reine” (£8.95) and the highly recommended Crisp boneless chicken wings, fresh macaroni winter savoury (7.50). The sweetbreads was a step back in time as I haven’t had one of these since I was working in Paris and it was rich and delicious, rather generous for a starter portion. The chicken wings, in an unusual combination, was nicely crisped and well balanced with the greens and pasta.

Lamb Sweetbreads Les Deux Salon

Lamb Sweetbreads Les Deux Salons

Crisp Chicken Wings Macaroni Les Deux Salon

Crisp Chicken Wings Macaroni Les Deux Salons

While the starters  arrived promptly, it took another 45 minutes for the main courses to arrive, after the table next to us had eaten, paid and left. A mention to one of the staff tranplanted from another of their restaurant that the staff were a bit confused got this reply, “That is why there is a 50% discount on food this week”. Unnecessary, as we were totally aware that this is the first service and expected teething problems. Besides that one episode, service was rather enthusiastic.

Mains were tender, melting Slow Cooked Ox Cheeks with parsnip puree (£17.95), very rich in flavour, totally delicious and Roast Halibut with Razor Clams (21.50), a nice way to prepare razor clams, could have had just a plate of those by itself.

Slow Cooked Ox Cheeks Les Deux Salon

Slow Cooked Ox Cheeks Les Deux Salons

Roast Halibut with Razor Clams Les Deux Salons

Roast Halibut with Razor Clams Les Deux Salons

To finish, we had the Glazed Lemon Tart with Creme Chantilly and ordered the bill and coffee at the same time.

Lemon Tart

The dessert and bill arrived and was paid and the coffee making guy had still not received the order to make the coffee. It did eventually arrive after much prompting and was very good too. We also spotted this oozing brie on the cheese board on the way out, something to remember for next time.

Les Deux Salons

The erratic service is forgivable as it’s their first service as the food is spot on. On the menu are several Plat du Jours (plural?) which I will be back to try – Wednesdays “Pot au Feu”, Thursdays Cassoulet and Friday Bouillabaisse. They also offer a 3 course Theatre Supper for £15.50 which I expect is going to be very popular in Theatreland. Our bill for the meal and a few glasses of wine, came up to about £60 after the 50% discount, and unless they introduce a lunch menu, it is  bit rich as a regular lunch spot.

Les Deux Salons on Urbanspoon