Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte

I refer to Urbanspoon rather often when visiting an area of London I am not too familiar with but I am usually loathe to rely solely on recommendations I find there unless there are blog posts attached to said restaurant’s page.

I decided to be bold and head for the Urbanspoon number 1 rated restaurant in Marylebone (resisting the urge to instead dine at the much lauded by bloggers Providores which, on the day happened to be Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte

Thomas was keen, steak frites (with proper fries, none of the oh so English fat chips) was more than enough to tempt him. The idea though that they serve only that is so very French and almost off-putting. I doubt most food bloggers would take kindly to such restrictive dining, possibly hence the lack of posts.

There is the argument that here, of course, they do this one thing very well, and I would agree that you can’t get enough of a good thing.

There’s one starter, dressed salad with walnuts. 4 pieces of white baguette also arrived, this was poor but the salad’s tangy dressing was lovely. The casual sprinkling of walnuts adds a depth of flavour and texture. Nice as it is, it’s just a salad.

Next up, the main attraction, steak, with sauce and fries. The sauce is divine, a secretly guarded recipe (the place is verging on pretentious, but it is supposed to feel like France), Thomas declared it one of the best sauces he’s ever tasted. We detected butter, a lot of butter, mustard, there’s a definite herby element (it’s green after all) and perhaps anchovy, it’s really quite salty. It was excellent.

The steak, entrecôte obviously, is served either rare, medium or well, ooh a choice at last. I had mine medium, Thomas rare. It was fine steak, buttery in texture and quite delicious. The fries are exactly the kind that lovers of fries appreciate. I like them but am not blown away preferring thicker chips myself.

Once finished, thinking that the plates are fairly small and I am not actually full, I was delighted when we were offered a second round. There’s nothing better than seconds! Yet after this go I still felt there was room for dessert. Not a bad thing. The crème brulee (above) was a fine example of the French classic, my profiteroles, however, were a let down. The chocolate sauce was dark and satisfying but the pastry was dull and felt rather like cardboard, each ball filled with ice cream. I’m more used to a cream or crème pattisiere filling. The sliced almonds were a good addition. Anyhow, it’s not really about the dessert here.

There’s a veggie option of cheese and a dessert instead of steak with your walnut salad for the £19 but frankly why one would come here and not have the steak is quite beyond me. The house red was a flavoursome full bodied Bordeaux, a perfect accompaniment to the meat. Verging on gimmicky with the pretty waitresses dressed as French maids, authentic french decor and white paper table cloths; this does whisk one back to those quaint little jam-packed bistros in Paris. Makes for slightly awkward manoeuvring should one need the toilet though. I’ll be back probably, I think the girls (Francophiles) would love it. A little pricey for what you get but if it’s steak frites you want in London, Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte is the place.

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte
120 Marylebone Lane

Le Relais de Venise L'EntrecôTe on Urbanspoon


Lizzie said...

I don't mind restricted menus but what they do do, they have to be the best at it and by reviews I read, they definitely aren't, which is why I won't visit.

Boo said...

Lizzie - yes, it's certainly not the best steak I've had, it's got nothing on the Hawksmoor offerings but that sauce was so great. I've read mixed reviews, I shan't be rushing back.