On Friday night for an early Valentine’s Dinner Thomas treated me to a meal at Les Trois Garçons.
I’d heard many good things from friends about this venue and it sounded quirky and different enough to warrant extreme over excitement in the run up to Friday. Outfit planned, website and reviews checked out but I held off on looking at the menu, preferring to have a surprise upon arrival.
Following some pre dinner champagne and cocktails we arrived (on time – our table was booked for 9:45) and were greeted and seated by a staggering 4 members of staff, all very nice, the lady at the door seemed a little bit frantic but was polite and relieved us of our coats before directing us to a chap who took us half way to our table before another helpful waiter led us all the way there. (The 4th person loitering in the reception area bid us hello - all very nice).
The deal is 2 courses for £42.50 or 3 for £49.50 with a further £3 supplement for select dishes. The actual dining room is bizarrely decorated with stuffed animals and all manner of sparkling dangly things hanging from the ceiling so there’s plenty to look at, I loved it, it’s very different.
I particularly liked this fellow who presided regally over our section of the restaurant.
The tables are rather close together, but the overall feel is a romantic and cosy atmosphere. I liked the bathroom, a rather grand black marble affair but there was only one toilet.
Onto the food. For starter I had the tartlet of fresh Dorset crab with green olives and coriander. This came with a cute little pastry top and a sort of salsa verde. It looked very pretty and was rather delicious. The only thing I would say is that I thought the crab was a tad too cold.
Thomas had the home-made fois gras with pears and toasted brioche. I’d never had fois gras before and this was just delicious. It’s obviously a fairly rich dish and this portion was generous but I was mightily impressed by how smooth and creamy it is, it’s one of those things I’ve just never got round to trying because I probably would never order it myself. Thomas liked it too and declared he could “take a bath” in the crab!
For main course I had the scallops with curried parsnip puree and white polenta. This was incredible. Scallops are one of my ultimate favourite things and I usually always order them if they appear. The dish on the whole was exquisite. I felt I had made 2 perfect choices.
Upon devouring the initial forkful I was concerned that the curried parsnip was a little overpowering. However, subsequent bites put pay to this thought and I think I’d just greedily loaded too much of it onto the scallop. The white polenta was a marvel. It was perfectly light and crumbly with a crispy outside that brilliantly complimented the dense softness of the scallops.
Thomas had the rump of lamb with artichokes, aubergines and fondant potatoes, after some debate about what to order. I was unusually decisive by comparison. The lamb won out in the end mainly because Thomas rarely orders lamb and wasn’t entirely sure why not.
This was amazingly tender and flavoursome, another virtually faultless offering.
For dessert I had the Vanilla crème brulee with blood orange cake which was an absolute whopper and probably the best brulee I’ve ever had. A few years back I went through a crème brulee phase and then tired of it so it’s been a while and here it made a welcome and triumphant return.
The orange cake was rather underwhelming but the brulee didn’t even need an accompaniment really. Thomas’ chocolate tart paled in significance but looked very pretty.
It was a bit too dense and not all that chocolaty but luckily the brulee came to the rescue being probably 3 times too big for me to finish.
My only gripes would be the length of time between courses, between the starter and main we waited for about 45 minutes, not good. Also, the bread arrived just as we'd finished our starter, perhaps wisely to bridge the gap between courses?
The bread was okay. The wait was not really, considering that they weren’t at capacity and the relatively short menu should ensure swift plating up. We had a good table, tucked away nicely in the far corner but the diners next to us were a little too close for my liking and there were empty tables, more consideration when choosing where to seat people would have made for a more comfortable experience. The food was brilliant but pricey. But because of the lateness of our booking they had run out of a number of options from the menu. In all Les Trois Garçon is a restaurant that’s great for a special occasions (particularly Valentine's Day or an anniversary perhaps) wowing the diners with decadent décor, a slightly barmy ambience and, more importantly, the food, if you pick wisely. Ooh, for the record, the white wine we had was great but I’m not sure what it was, Thomas picked and I was a tad tipsy!
Les Trois Garçons
1 Club Row