Posted on Tuesday, 5th February 2013
Ed Wilson and Oli Barker, the boys behind the renowned Terroirs and its sister restaurants Soif and Brawn, have created a certain niche by selling biodynamic wines imported through wine specialists Les Caves de Pyrène. The practice of biodynamic agriculture refers to the use of organic, sustainable and ecological methods in wine making, and it is a practice that has gained momentum in recent years.
Wilson and Barker’s latest restaurant is The Green Man & French Horn. They’ve kept the name of the pub that once graced the site where the restaurant now stands. Located right in the heart of Covent Garden, it’s a quaint little place. But it’s also a tight squeeze with cramped tables and noisy acoustics.
The French menu is rustic, homely and comforting. A starter of chicken livers (£8.50) with artichoke and mâche were fat, silky smooth and dripping in flavour. Cooked to medium rare, they were well seasoned and superbly done. A drizzling of merlot vinegar and olive oil dressing left the dish with a lovely glaze and added a moist finish.
The beetroot in a salad of anchovies, egg and watercress (£8.25) was nicely cooked. Firm yet soft, they had been rendered with a caramelised glaze for sweetness. The egg was runny and looked wonderful but was under seasoned and bland. In contrast, the watercress with an olive oil dressing was a touch over seasoned, The anchovies running through the dish were also obviously quite salty, so the combination of saltiness, sweetness and blandness proved a touch poignant on the palate.
A partridge with lentils, endive and chestnuts (£18) was tasty, although the breast could have done with about 30 seconds less cooking time as it was a little dry. The accompanying lentils and chestnuts cooked in a chicken stock were wonderful though, with the sweetness of the lovely stock permeating throughout.
Braised oxtail served with root vegetables and mogette beans (£13.75) was pleasant. The oxtails were tender if a little bland when eaten on it’s own. But it was much helped by the tasty oxtail broth on which it sat. The root vegetable combination of carrots and parsnip were a good match, although the latter was slightly undercooked.
A dessert of bitter chocolate was deliciously creamy, strong in chocolate flavour and almost mousse like. This was really, really good, but the meringue was a little hard and lacked for a gooey centre. A chestnut cream formed the base of the dessert. More cream than chestnut, it was disappointingly bland. As a complete dessert it wasn’t great, but the chocolate was a winner.
The service was pleasant although it could have been a touch more attentive.
The food was good, not amazing, but solid and good. Certain dishes could have done with better judgment, but the variety and rustic flavours paired with a great range of biodynamic wines makes this quaint little restaurant a decent choice amongst the plethora of tourist traps that make up Covent Garden.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3/5
Price range: £21 to £42 for three courses. Excludes drinks and service.