Posted on Monday, 13th February 2017
LES 110 DE TAILLEVENT
Les 110 de Taillevent London is a classic French brasserie which brings the kind of classic French cooking championed by its sister Taillevent restaurants in Paris, the most well-known of which is the two-Michelin starred Le Taillevent, along with Les Caves de Taillevent and the similarly named Les 110 de Taillevent in Paris.
The Taillevent restaurants are owned by the Gardinier brothers, a family which also impressively operates Château Phélan Ségur in Bordeaux and the Relais Châteaux hotel Domaine les Crayères in Champagne, a restaurant which I had the opportunity to try some years back. With such pedigree backing it’s unsurprising that the offering at Les 110 de Taillevent London is refined French cooking using seasonal ingredients.
But what makes Les 110 de Taillevent even more unique is its approach to its wine offering, no less than 110 wines by the glass or half glass. The menu has been designed in such a way as to facilitate ease of choice, with four different wine suggestions in four different price categories listed for each dish.
As for the setting, Les 110 de Taillevent can be described as nothing less than sumptuous. The restaurant, in a listed building on Cavendish Square, is beautifully appointed and elegant. Great food paired with a considered and carefully curated wine list in a beautiful setting – what more could hard core foodies hope for?!
I dined at Les 110 de Taillevent recently as part of a bloggers’ dinner and enjoyed a wonderfully complete evening. We were firstly treated to a delectable array of canapes including a supremely tasty mushroom veloute and deliciously fresh confit salmon. But the highlight was unquestionably the truffle sandwiches which consisted of layers of bread infused in truffle butter and then layered with truffle. These were really outstanding, what with the flavour of the rich butter and the delightful truffle merging together beautifully.
For my first course I had the creamy truffle scrambled eggs (£14 – the price from the a la carte menu) using a French recipe. The eggs had been made using truffle which had firstly been infused with clarified butter. The eggs were then cooked on a low heat with more butter, seasoned and then finished with more truffle. The eggs were a touch salty, but were otherwise dreamily good. (Suggested wine pairings included IGP Cotes du Lot “Montaigne” 2014, Domaine Belmont and Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2012, Au Bon Climat, USA).
The lobster (£28) followed, a piece of roasted tail with cauliflower purée and cannelloni with girolles and finished with a bisque. This was a really delightful dish if again a touch over seasoned. The lobster had been wonderfully cooked and was plump and juicy, and the cannelloni with girolles offered up an interesting and substantial flavour.
Next was the John Dory (£22) with fish mousseline and romaine salad. The John Dory had been nicely cooked, although it could have done with a touch more seasoning. The fish mousseline which consisted of cod and lobster bisque was excellent, boasting of good flavour, lightness and refinement. Completing the dish was a drizzling of some lovely, well reduced lobster bisque. (Suggested wine pairings included Sancerre “Flores” 2013, Vincent Pinard and Valais Petite Arvine de Vetroz 2013, Caves des Tilleuls, Switzerland).
The main course was truffle veal rump, artichoke purée and stuffed baby artichoke (£35), a dish that showed of great skill and flavour. The veal was tender and a joy to eat, and the baby artichoke, which had been prepared in a traditional ‘barigoule’ style, had been stuffed with béchamel and truffle and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. As a result when you cut into the artichoke there was a delightful surprise of flavour and creaminess. (Wine pairings included Frank Phélan 2009, Saint Estèphe and Toscana “Carnasciale” 2011, Podere Il Carnasciale, Italy).
Sides of macaroni cheese with jambon de Paris and Emmental (£5) proved to be excellent. It packed a punch which I would happily order again. The potato mash (£4) was also fabulous, consisting of about 50% buttery goodness (similar to the Le Joel Roubuchon way).
We tried several of the desserts and I was most impressed with the calamansi lemon (£9) with passion fruit, meringue, shortbread, tequila and lime sorbet. This dessert was incredibly light and refreshing and showed off a feminine and light touch. (Wine pairings included Moscato D’Asti 2015, G.D. Vajra, Italy and Coteaux de L’Aubance “Les Trois Schistes“ 2014, Domaine de Montgilet).
For chocolate lovers, the truffle chocolate with mascarpone cream and caramel (£12) was also expertly executed. This was a chocolate cylinder consisting of 70% Valrhona dark chocolate and paired with truffled chocolate cream and mascarpone cream and then finished with drizzle of caramel sauce. Pure indulgence!
Finally the mont-blanc with chestnut cream, icecream and cake (£9) was also likeable. It was very light, prettily presented and with a nice flavour of the chestnut cream. However the cake itself could have done with a touch more salt.
We had a wonderful evening filled with delicious food. But above all Les 110 de Taillevent serves up a complete dining experience with an accomplished wine listing and an ambient setting. The set lunch menu at £20 for two courses and £25 for three courses offers value.
1) All the food was delicious but the highlights were the truffle sandwiches and the truffle veal rump.
2) The sides of mac & cheese and potato mash were delicious.
3) The best dessert of the evening was the calamansi lemon.
1) Some unevenness in the seasoning.
Price: About £40 to £60 a head, excluding drinks and service.
Food rating: 4.25/5