Les 110 de Taillevent

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?!

Les 110 de Taillevent - London Food Blog - Truffle Sandwich

Les 110 de Taillevent – Truffle Sandwich *

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.

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The Ninth

THE NINTH

The Ninth on Charlotte Street is the latest restaurant by chef Jun Tanaka, a chef who has worked at some of London’s best restaurants including Le Gavroche, The Restaurant Marco Pierre White and The Square. Jun’s last venture was Pearl – a gem of a place at what was previously the Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel in Holborn. At Pearl, the food was a refined, modern take on classical French cooking. With The Ninth, Jun has migrated to a sharing menu that boasts of French Mediterranean-style dishes.

One might call The Ninth cosy, but I felt the more appropriate word to describe it was cramped. The restaurant was very small and tables had been squeezed into every spot imaginable, including the one where we were perched which was right by the front door. It was a very unpleasant spot, especially as every time the door opened it let in a draft, which was basically about every 5 minutes.

I had great expectations about The Ninth, having thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful and precisely cooked food at Pearl on several occasions before it closed. The a la carte menu at The Ninth – available at lunch and dinner – was divided into various sections including hot starters, a raw and cured section, fish, meat and vegetables. It made for an inviting read with many lovely sounding dishes.

From the raw and cured section, a razor clam ceviche (£9.50) was pleasant but underwhelming. The razor clams were fresh and had been nicely dressed with the right level of acidity. But the dish lacked for seasoning, and in all, the ceviche was just a little bit boring. The razor clams had a very gentle flavour, and what the dish needed was something to lift it. Even some contrasting crunchiness would have helped the dish by giving it added texture.

The Ninth - London Food Blog - Razor clam ceviche

The Ninth – Razor clam ceviche

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The Balcon

THE BALCON

The elegant Balcon restaurant at Sofitel St James is modeled on a traditional French brasserie and serves a French menu founded on classic principles, but with a modern twist. With its exquisite décor, The Balcon is ideal for lazy breakfasts, power lunches, intimate dinners or even a drink after work. What’s more The Balcon also serves afternoon tea. But if you are angling for afternoon tea at Sofitel St James, then I would thoroughly recommend the Rose Lounge at the hotel as it is a truly beautiful spot (you can read about their afternoon tea experience here).

But back to The Balcon. We began our leisurely lunch with a gorgeous starter of grilled scallops, pea tortellini and lobster sauce (£12). The scallops were nicely cooked and had a nice level of caramelisation on it. The tortellini was well made. But it was the lobster sauce which was the winning element of the dish. Offering a rich lobster flavour, It was creamy, decadent and showed off real class.

The Balcon - London Food Blog - Scallops

The Balcon – Scallops

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Rivea London

RIVEA LONDON

The Rivea London Restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge draws its inspiration from the vibrant food markets of the Italian and French Riviera. Therefore what you see on the table is a blend of French and Italian dishes drawn up from the freshest seasonal produce. Executive Chef Alexandre Nicolas worked with Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse both in London and Paris for ten years. As such, he brings a touch of refinement to a menu that focuses on simple, yet bold flavours.

We booked the ‘Star Deal’ menu at Rivea London through Bookatable.co.uk which comprised of four plates and a glass of wine for a very reasonable £35 per person. The starter selection offers a varied choice of six options, and accordingly we each chose different dishes and were able to try four items. The Star Deal menu is very much designed for sharing, as is the a la carte menu, which is something that I love to be able to do.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Bread Selection

Rivea London – Bread Selection

We began the meal with a selection of breads (lemon, focaccia and sourdough) accompanied by a tasty selection of nine, mostly vegetarian dips such as beetroot and horseradish and pumpkin and nutmeg. This was a really colourful way to start the evening before we moved onto the glorious starters. The ‘Rivea’ niçoise salad wrapped in a socca (a thin chickpea flour pancake which originates from Nice) was one of the best niçoise salads I have ever tasted. All the ingredients were delicious, but it was the dressing that set the dish alight, as it was lovely and delicate, and it showed off an incredibly skillful touch. Also well conceived was the mozzarella with puntarella (chicory).

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Salad (l), mozarella (r)

Rivea London – Salad (l), mozarella (r)

A tuna tartare was also wonderful, boasting of precisely cut pieces of tasty tuna which had been lovingly marinated. We also enjoyed the marinated line-caught sea bream with citrus. The sea bream was delicious and the accompanying citrus dressing proved to an eclectic pairing. The dressing was rich and creamy, and perhaps a little overpowering against the fish, but overall the dish very tasty.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Tuna & sea bream

Rivea London – Tuna & sea bream

We thought both of our main courses to be delicious if a little small in size. The scallops with accompaniments of Jerusalem artichoke puree, pieces of pancetta and hazelnuts proved to be a fabulous dish, abounding with lots of umami flavour. The scallops were perfectly cooked with a nice caramelisation, the puree was delightfully creamy, and the pancetta and hazelnuts added another dimension to the dish.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Scallops

Rivea London – Scallops

The second main of veal fillet was a simple dish, yet nicely executed. The veal was tender and paired warmly with some potato gratin and spinach. To finish off the dish was a lovely, flavoursome veal jus.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Veal fillet

Rivea London – Veal fillet

Moving onto the desserts and we found the tiramisu to be somewhat of a disappointment. It was bland, with too much cream and not enough coffee or vanilla flavour. The house dessert of a ‘St Tropez’ cake, a brioche sponge with orange blossom and sandwiched with a vanilla marscapone cream faired better and was more enjoyable with its light, airy texture and delicious creamy filling.

Rivea London - London Food Blog - Dessert

Rivea London – Dessert

The ‘Star Deal’ set menu at Rivea London put on an impressive display of cooking talent and wonderful produce. Everything that we ate and the house wine that came with the set menu demonstrated quality. Furthermore, we were also charmed by the extremely professional and welcoming service. To round off the experience, Rivea London made for a truly glamorous venue. The décor was wonderfully stylish with a chic ambience, yet it did not overwhelm the diner so as to still maintain a sense of relaxed elegance.

At £35, the ‘Star Deal’ at Rivea London proved to be really great value for money. I was really impressed and I would go again.

SUMMARY INFORMATION:
Likes

1) The niçoise salad wrapped in a socca.
2) The tuna tartare.
3) The veal dish.
4) The scallop dish.
5) The wonderful service.
6) The ambience.
7) The great value star deal menu.

Dislikes:
1) The tiramisu.

Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Price: The ‘Star deal’ menu on Bookatable.co.uk is £35 and includes one glass of wine. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://rivealondon.com/

Rivea London - Bulgari Hotel & Residences Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Square Meal


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Les Gourmets des Ternes

LES GOURMETS DES TERNES

The original Les Gourmets des Ternes in the 8th arrondissement in Paris opened in 1962 and has a long history of serving celebrities and politicians alike. The walls on Les Gourmets des Ternes are adorned with pictures of famous guests, the likes of which include
 Sharon Stone, Jack Nicholson and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Les Gourmets des Ternes in Knightsbridge is the younger sibling of the Parisien original, and the ground floor of the restaurant boasts of the same menu and bistro décor as it’s older sister. Les Gourmets des Ternes specialises in traditional French cooking, using produce imported from France. Dishes include such French classics such as andouillette de Troyes, beef bourguignon and sole meunière. On the first floor there is the Rendez Vous Bar, an intimate Champagne and foie gras bar with a capacity of 25-30 people.

Six pieces of escargot (£7) came out piping hot with a generous drizzling of garlic butter which we loved. The butter went swimmingly with the snails, and it also made for a good dipping sauce for our bread. The snails were well cooked with a good firmness to them. There is sometimes a tendency to overcook snails which makes them too soft. Here at Les Gourmets des Ternes, they had a nice firmness to them.

Les Gourmets des Ternes - London Food Blog - Escargot

Les Gourmets des Ternes – Escargot

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Casse-Croute

CASSE-CROUTE

Casse-Croute is a quaint and intimate French bistro located on Bermondsey Street, a street that ranks as one of my favourite streets in London for eating out. With the likes of José, Zucca, Antico and Pizarro all on Bermondsey Street, Casse-Croute faces up to some stiff competition. Casse-Croute is decidedly French, from the Francophile posters hanging on the walls, to the red and white tablecloths down to the red leather seating. The cosy placement of the tables also adds a level of intimacy to the restaurant. It’s a wonderfully inviting looking restaurant, a place that you could happily linger in for hours on end, and there’s no doubt that during the winter Casse-Croute is nice and snug. Their menu is small and changes daily, and typically boasts of French classics such as sole with hollandaise sauce and beef cheek bourguignon (which we tried).

For our starter we had the crab ravioli (£9.50) which was beautifully prepared. The homemade pasta was nice and thin, and the crab filling was fresh and tasty. As a complete package the ravioli was truly delicious and showed off tremendous skill. The sauce, made from a reduction using crab and lobster shells, was intensely flavoursome and was a delight to eat. The only problem was that there was not enough sauce to cover the pasta and consequently some of the ravioli tasted naked without the sauce. It felt like this dish had been plated up in a rush. The base of the pasta consisted of some samphire which was very salty and could have probably done with further soaking, etc.

Casse-Croute - London Food Blog - Crab ravioli

Casse-Croute – Crab ravioli

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Galvin At Windows – The Lunch Menu

GALVIN AT WINDOWS – THE LUNCH MENU

We recently tried the set lunch menu at Galvin at Windows, a Michelin One Star Restaurant by the renowned chefs and restaurateurs, the Galvin Brothers. Located on the 28th floor of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, Galvin at Windows offers glorious views over Hyde Park and Central London. The three-course set lunch with bellini is priced at £33 and was great value, offering three choices for starter and main, and two choices for dessert.

We both started with the beef steak tartare which was lovely. The beef was tasty and had been finely chopped and marinated with herbs and a strong level of acidity for a great flavour. Accompanying the tartare was a well-made selection of condiments including mustard mayonnaise, a gorgeous confit egg yolk and pickled vegetables.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Beef Tartare

Galvin at Windows – Beef Tartare

To mains, and the roasted fillet of Suffolk pork with braised pork cheek proved to be an accomplished dish. The pork cheek was particularly delicious as it was tender and rich with flavour, although the fillet was a touch chewy as it was slightly overcooked. All the other elements on the plate were good, including a fricassée of broad beans, celeriac and a chorizo and honey spiced jus, all of which were delicious and worked well in bringing the dish together.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Suffolk pork

Galvin at Windows – Suffolk pork

Kimchee risotto with slow cooked egg, fresh corn, sesame and Parmesan proved to be a very interesting dish. There was good depth in the stock, the rice was al dente and the egg added a lovely richness to the risotto. The big disappointment however was that it was very salty.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Kimchee risotto

Galvin at Windows – London Food Blog – Kimchee risotto

To desserts, and an apricot and cherry almond tart with a verbena cream was good but not great. There wasn’t enough of a frangipane flavour in the tart, and it lacked for a buttery sweet pastry that makes classic French tarts taste so great.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Apricot & cherry almond tart

Galvin at Windows – Apricot & cherry almond tart

A second dessert of rice pudding with peach compote, raspberries and pink pepper sorbet was tasty and enjoyable as it was fresh and very summery.

Galvin at Windows - London Food Blog - Rice pudding

Galvin at Windows – Rice pudding

There were a few elements in the Galvin at Windows lunch menu that could have been better, but on the whole, I couldn’t fault the cooking which was accomplished and refined. Another plus point was that the menu was very reasonably priced at £33, making it decent value for money. Other plus points included great service and wonderful views. The lunch menu Galvin at Windows definitely gets a big tick from me.

Summary Information:

Likes:
1. The quality of the cooking especially at this reasonable price point.
2. The good service.
3. The amazing views.

Dislikes:
1. The saltiness in the kimchee risotto.

Lunch menu food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Lunch menu price: £33 for three courses plus a bellini. Excludes other drinks and service.

Website: http://www.galvin-at-windows.com/


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Chablis Dinner at The Chancery

I recently attended a ‘Gastronomy and Geology’ dinner where we went on a journey of discovery into the unique and mineral-laden qualities of the world of Chablis. Chablis is always made from Chardonnay, and what makes it special is that it has its roots in a seam of 155m year old fossilised oyster shells, the same ground that exists in the town of Kimmeridge, Dorset, and runs through parts of Champagne, the Loire valley and of course, Chablis.

The event was held at The Chancery where we saw an amazing four-course menu prepared by Chef Graham Long being paired with a variety of different quality Chablis wines. The evening began in the Chancery’s cellar bar with crab beignets and truffled cheese arancini canapés accompanied by an accessible Petit Chablis aperitif, a Dauvissat Petit Chablis 2012, which was fresh and clean on the palate. This Chablis is supposedly from an appellation which is the most lowly (Petit Chablis) but it is in fact Petit in name alone. This is because Dauvissat is arguably Chablis’ finest, most manicured domaine.

The Chancery - London Food Blog - Chablis

The Chancery – Chablis

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