Restaurant Review • L’escargot
L’Escargot is the oldest French Restaurant in London situated on Greek Street in the heart of bustling Soho. Founded in 1896 and originally called Le Bienvenue, the restaurant moved to Greek Street in 1927 and changed its name to L’Escargot. Now under Brian Clivaz ( formally of Arts Club, Home House and Langhams Brasserie), Laurance Isaacson MBE (co-founder of Chez Gerard) and Oliver Lesnik ( Cadogan) as Head Chef it has certainly had a rebirth. Since my last visit some years ago it has been totally refurbished. Offering a glamourous, welcoming, tranquil place for a fabulous dinner, lunch or brunch! One of London’s little treasures that I’m sure you’ll want to keep going back to. And here’s why…
I obviously love a restaurant that offers amazing quality food. But a truly successful restaurant in my eyes has to operate on others levels too. L’Escargot certainly does that!! It’s a real destination restaurant perfect for a special occasion, with a group or a romantic dinner for two. Alternatively, perfect for a good old catch up over lunch with a girlfriend!!
Firstly, let me start with the amazing building and Décor. It oozes with vintage French charm, that almost leaves one feeling as though you’ve stepped back in time… with a modern twist. The walls of this Georgian Townhouse are adorned with eclectic pieces of art. Decorated with glided mirrors and beautiful chandeliers, all contributing to it’s feeling of opulence. This definitely adds to your dining experience.
Now to the ‘nitty gritty’, the food and service.
If you arrive a little early, ( which I recommend) you can sample a delicious Cocktail in the bar area prior to being seated. …soak up the atmosphere. There are many gorgeous choices. I had an espresso Martini which wasn’t on the menu, but was graciously accommodated.
Among their “signature dishes are a Cassoulet, Chateaubriand for 2 … and of course Snails, the clue is in the name. I’ve had them once and vowed never to again (strange texture). But fear not, if the thought of a snail turns your stomach, there’s PLENTY more on the menu you can choose from. A great assortment of meat and fish dishes, a few vegetarian dishes however a little limited. Something to cater for every taste from the menu of firm French favourites…with of course the Oliver Lesnik touch!
Great attention to detail is paid to the food which makes for a real gastronomic treat. The dishes look and smell exquisite! Whether you’re really hungry or just fancy a lighter meal, all the options are there. It’s a very well balanced menu, which changes seasonally, they also offer “specials” of the day. I opted for a the absolutely mouthwatering French Onion Soup to start, a light main course of the fishcake. Being a dessert girl,I wanted to save a little space for a sweet to conclude. I couldn’t go this restaurant without trying the famously French faire their Tarte Tartin! I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Once I had my first mouthful I realised that THIS was what a Tarte Tartin SHOULD taste like!! My Husband thoroughly enjoyed his meal, a starter of Lobster Bisque and main course of Entrecote Steak Frites. I managed to spare him a spoonful of my Tarte Tartin, (begrudgingly I must add). There’s also extensive, rather impressive Wine list to boot…
The service was impeccable, with friendly and attentive staff. I felt that there wasn’t anything the staff would not do to assist ones needs.
The ambience was buzzing with excitement, we went on a Friday evening.
L’Escargot also serves lunch 12-3pm. Dinner service is 5-11.30pm. Sunday Brunch is an “all you can eat” service from 11am -4pm for under £25.00. There is a great Pre and Post-Theatre Menu. Unusually, L’Escargot allows it’s guests to eat two courses pre-theatre followed by dessert and coffee after the theatre, if desired. What a truly brilliant idea!!
I couldn’t recommend this restaurant/bar highly enough. It’s wonderful French cuisine at reasonable prices…
It’s a place (given it’s elegant surroundings) where us ladies can put on a fabulous outfit and have an equally FABULOUS time!!
L’Escargot is also a private members club.
For more information and to book, see L’Escargot website, telephone +44 (0) 20 7439 7474. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org