Le Garrick

Le Garrick (1 of 22)

Meal courtesy of Le Garrick

Attended by me!

History and Background:

An iconic French restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden

My colleagues and I celebrated Bastille’s Day at Le Garrick, a restaurant that I’ve heard of through word of mouth but never had a chance to visit.

A very easy find, situated close to Covent Garden station and a comfortable 20 minute walk from work (Chancery Lane), we found ourselves greeted by friendly waiters upon our arrival. Coated with thick French accents and donning themselves with stripped t-shirts it was like as if we stepped inside Paris! Dim lit and candle light settings, a small establishment over two floors and they have an extensive menu catering for all types of french tastes.

Renowned for its wine cellar, be sure to taste some of Le Garrick’s french blends too.

We opted for the Bastille Day menu specifically.

The meal:

Le Garrick (5 of 22)
Coq Au Vin

Showcasing authenticity with one of the most classic french dishes for Bastille Day, Coq Au Vin. I’ve not had much French stew in my lifetime and admit that I’m not so much a fan of it, but for the occasion, what better dish to have than have it on Bastille Day!

The dish consists of chicken braised in wine and typically with potatos, garlic, herbs, onions and mushrooms. The fragrance of each ingredient can be felt here and though I thought chicken was slightly dry this is typical in nature, especially from a long brew.

Le Garrick (8 of 22)

Le Garrick (19 of 22)
Tarte Tartin

We ended up a sweet high, the Tarte Tartin demolished by all 3 of us, though maybe too much on the sweet end, the ice cream was a great accompaniment. Don’t let the visuals of this dish fool you, it makes a great end to the evening!

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down pastry in which the fruit are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

Price: ££

(A La Carte for 3 courses would be £££)

Square Meal

Aubaine UK

Meal courtesy of Aubaine

Attended and written by Daisy, @petitediningroom and published by Steph

History and background:

Aubaine is a classic, elegant Parisian salon with a relaxed ambience. A chic contemporary French restaurant, boulangerie and patisserie serving simple, classic dishes with 9 branches in London and 2 branches in Dubai, whereby most are located in the central and the southwest. It is a perfect dining place for date nights and celebratory events.

Superb food, urban yet rustic interiors and personable service give Aubaine an air of relaxed sophistication and an aura of chic

The meal:

Offering the Summer en Provence set menu, the executive chef created 3 courses of traditional Provencal dishes for us to experience the taste of south France.

Aubaine (1 of 12)

Goat cheese, pepper puree, basil, cherry tomatoes with edible flowers to kick off the starters. It’s a refreshing salad with a kick, mainly from the pepper puree. Light and appealing for the taste buds.

Aubaine (2 of 12)Bayonne ham, kidney beans, Marconi, pesto soup

There is a strong pesto flavour, which can get slightly heavy for the starters so I would suggest to get something lighter for mains if you choose this dish.

La petite bouillabaisse

It is a traditional Provencal fish stew with sea bass, red mullet, mussels, squid and potatoes. This is one of my favourite French cuisine dishes. A beautiful dish, not the best I have had, but it is amazing for this price.

Aubaine (12 of 12)Roasted corn fed chicken breast with green olives and rosemary, toasted fregola

Chicken was juicy and moist. First time tried the fregola and it went very well with the dish.

Aubaine (8 of 12)Aubaine (7 of 12)

White chocolate fraisier

A twist of the classic fraisier, combining the white chocolate into the crème patisserie with fresh strawberries,topped with an olive oil glaze and with a soaked syrup sponge.

Personally, I prefer the classic Fraisier, which is light and fresh. I was surprised that the olive oil glaze goes really well the cake. I would recommend this for people who have a heavy sweet tooth.

Raspberry tart

This is not on the menu, a classic raspberry tart, filled with almond paste and crème patisserie. The acidity of fresh raspberries on top balanced out the sweetness of the tart and cream.

I would recommend to try their lavender cocktails, we went for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc , sweet and fruity , goes well with our dishes. Crisp and refreshing, perfect for the current summer weather!

Service: Amazing service, special thanks for the manger. Very welcoming, helpful with the food and wine choice, friendly staff.

We went to the branch in Dover street, slightly quieter than those one on the main street i.e. Selfridges. A great location for a date night. The 2-course meal for £15.50, 3 course meal for £19.50.

Available from now to 30th Aug.

Square Meal

Cremerie Creperie (Kensington Crepes)

Kensington Creperies
Apologies for the yellow tinge – I blame the crepe colouring!

History and Background:

Specialising in French crepes, Kensington Creperie has the widest range of crepes I know in London. From savoury to sweet to alcoholic ones, it has everything you will ever need. I envy Imperial College students… South Ken has its own little foodie town!

Serving crepes since 2001, made fresh daily and open everyday between 10.30am – 11.00pm, Kengsington Creperie pride themselves in having one of the most comprehensive menus out there so look no further…

Desserts:

Kensington Creperie
Superbe Coffee Crepe £6.50

Err… biscuits, white Belgium chocolate, coffee, coffee sauce, concentrate milk. (Only for the coffee lovers)

Crepe
La Belle – Helene Crepe £6.75

So we were actually a group of 3, but we ordered 4 crepes. Don’t do that, you’ll get sick – we did! (Too much food after a meal!) The coffee crepe looked heavy but Daisy had pretty much finished it (a coffee freak).

Crepe
A special – vanilla ice-cream, apple and maple syrup
Crepe
La Crepe Quebec £5.95
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Banana, walnuts, butter and cream with real maple Canadian syrup

Pretty good crepes, but they’re rather filling, save some space in your stomachs otherwise its a meal not worthy of being spent.

Bits and bobs:

  • Didn’t seem to packed, the restaurant is partitioned by a wall so it’s bigger than you think
  • They do good savoury crepes, do try if you’re not too full

Price: £

Cafe Creperie on Urbanspoon

Maze by Gordon Ramsay *

French cuisine with Asian influences at Maze, Gordon Ramsay

History and Background:

One Michelin Star

Gordon Ramsay restaurants are no strangers to the restaurant scene.  Thirteen restaurants in London under is belt, but are all of them worthy of praise? Having been to a few, York and Albany, and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, ( and see Savoy Grill, Gordon Ramsay review here), I find that each restaurant is as different as it can be, to the next. I came to Maze with thefoodforker almost 2 years ago and have not been impressed enough by it to return. Bluntly sounding, Maze by Gordon Ramsay isn’t one that I would recommend if you’re looking for top notch good food. Nevertheless, it is under the reputable Ramsay name, and their mains are cheaper in comparison to its brothers.

There is a sushi bar incorporated into the restaurant since Autumn 2012, and along with every dish served, there is an Asian twist to it. This restaurant combines the french with the far east.

The meal:

Prices are not included in some pictures, since this was a set meal. Previously at what was a steal for £25 for 4 courses, it now has a similar deal – £33 for 4 courses. Please see website for details: http://www.gordonramsay.com/maze/menus/

Sea Bream, enoki mushroom, dashi, ginger £13.50
Neatly presented in classic French fashion, the Sea Bream
The meat wasn’t very tender, and actually quite dry.

Portions were small and very average and It’s fair to say that Maze lived up to what you would call the Michelin stereotype, typically small portions for a hefty price. Thankfully this was a set meal for £25.00, totaling £30.00 for service charge, but I would have rather spent that £30 elsewhere in a more casual setting.

Probably one of my favourite from this meal, Bok Choi was lacking in quantity. My mum cooks better Bok Choi than Maze… #eatwithmum
Strawberry shortcake
Vanilla ice-icream, honey glazed banana and a whole lot of chocolate elegantly grouped together.

Service: All french waiters with lovely accents to better incorporate the french theme. 12.5% service charge

The bits and bobs:

  • Coat room service
  • Private rooms available
  • Tasting menus available

Maze on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Price: ££

sketch, (Lecture Room and Library) **

Sketch Library Room and Library, the epitome of fine dining
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Sketch Gallery, one of the many hubs within 9 Conduit Street

Brace yourselves for this one. A whole lot of photos #foodporn coming your way…! (8 courses to be exact)

History and background:

** 2 Michelin Star

Opened up by renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire and restauranteur Mazouz in December 2002, it has reached worldwide recognition for its sketch houses, The Parlour (patisserie), The Glade (afternoon tea, cocktails), The Gallery (brasserie), The Lecture Room & Library (2 Michelin Star) and The East Bar (drinks).

sketch is truly one of a kind, with 5 restaurants and bars inside, all interlinked to one another, its a foodie’s world. A venue perfect for food, drinks and entertainment, its definitely a destination I would highly recommend visiting. (Your wallet might be emptied out by the time you leave Mayfair though…)

Its quirky food style in its tasting menu is highlighted below, at the Lecture Room & Library, the two Michelin Star menu inspired by Gagnaire. Imaginative, and unique. A second visit is definitely in the books, to try the A La Carte, our neighbour’s lamb certainly looked very appetizing!

The meal: (8 courses – Tasting menu £110 pp)

With the help of Liam and Simon, (managers @sketch) I was able to get a recap of all the courses of the night. (Unless you really believe that I would be able to recall everything I had at the top of my head.)

1. Feuilletes:

Bread soufflé, sorrel cream

I know I’ve literally taken a photo of bread and butter, but its not just any bread and butter it’s sketch’s bread and butter. Personally I prefer softer bread, it hurts my teeth if its too hard, this was hard. But the butter and sorrel cream were unique to the table, really flavoured. They did something with a lime before serving it to us..

Humus, pomegranate, sesame oil, cumin cracker

This was my favourite out of the feuilletes, I just loved the look of it. Very dainty and delicate.

Squid ink sticks dipped in a clementine and thyme olive oil // Parmesan sable

Can I also say that this was my favourite feuillete too? Tastewise. There’s two here, the squid ink sticks and the parmesan biscuits. The squid ink sticks were a bit of a plaything, allowing you to snap the sticks and dip in olive oil to add fragrance. I loved the parmesan cable, it had the perfect aroma, and tasted very toasty and cheesy.

Goat cheese basket, plum, spinach

Wasn’t too sure about this one, but imaginative.

Dirty martini jellies with lime

I don’t usually like olives, but I liked what they did here, very good combination.

Foie Gras

This consists of cubes of Foie Gras and red tuna, artichoke Cream, endive and grilled leeks, hazelnut opaline and  kombu bouillon.

Ceps (Declension of French Ceps) [i.e. mushrooms]
BBC definition: cep is a Gascon term for the Boletus eduilis mushroom. That is, the penny bun in English. (This is my err WTF moment). I love mushrooms (x10000).

Above is pan-fried cep with cep cream. If you like mushrooms I would really recommend trying this, the flavours are really brought out here, they sure know how to cook.

Below is cep ice cream – (yes, mushroom ice cream) with coffee jelly. Coffee jelly a strange addition to the mushroom course… I can’t say it worked, but the mushroom ice cream made up for it.

Amateur photography skills… a photo difficult to take, with time against my side. The mushroom ice cream with coffee jelly.

I really liked the mushroom ice cream, it was very unique.

Big plates and small portions – fine dining cliché
‘The Sea’

This was the seafood part of the tasting menu. With three parts to it, above, the pan fried hand dived scallop in a spinach velouté, razor clams with shallots. The scallop was SO GOOD, words just can’t describe it.

Below, the Oyster in Champagne, Parmesan and fresh ginger. Mmm. Frankly, wasn’t a fan of this one. Smelt too fishy…

Oyster in Champagne
Louise looking hungry
Duck

This constituted of sliced challans duck with cassis, red onions, reinette apples and turnips. Duck was tender, succulent but its complementing side dish was a little less impressive. Below the poppy seeds and paimpol coco beans.

I’m too unhealthy to like beans… oopsies.

Pierre Gagnaire’s Grand Dessert: 

Here we go guys…

The last hurdle!
The last hurdle!
Courtesy of Poyee Chan
Photo credit: Poyee Chan

I had camera problems when it came to the desserts… I guess my camera got too excited. Fortunately fellow bestie Poyee came here recently, a she sure knows how to take a photo or two!

I didn’t like the cocktail – it was too strong for me… and I can’t even decipher what the waiter was saying… but it’s some sort of cocktail. I have a feeling it may have been this dish, (correct me if I’m wrong!) Blackcurrant Vent de Sable Chartreuse Granite.

London Honey Ice cream, Fig and Timor Pepper Marmalade

This one was good, sweet, soft and creamy! There is also another dessert – (at the back), wasn’t too fond of that…

Sweetcorn and Vanilla cream – I think!
Italian Meringue

And that, is the last of the desserts, some tasted too much like perfume, and some were amazingly good.

Petite fours to end the day!

  • Turkish delight scented with pine tree
  • Chocolate tartlet, milk jam, chocolate liqueur
  • White chocolate, mascapone, amerena cherries
Petite fours
Petite fours

Service: What you would expect from a 2 michelin, service was perfect. 12.5% service charge.

Bits and bobs:

  • Would recommend popping a bottle of wine, they serve it to you in these fancy wine holders/ jugs
  • Cloakroom service
  • Highly recommended to book in advance
  • They have very fancy toilets on the ground floor in The Gallery, please go check it out!

Price: £££

Sketch Lecture Room and Library on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Savoy Grill at The Savoy, Gordon Ramsay

The epitome of what fine dining is, Savoy Grill
The epitome of what fine dining is, Savoy Grill

History and background:

Savoy Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels globally, with a traditional 20’s British theme. There is a very, quintessentially British feel that lingers over the Savoy Grill.

“The Savoy Grill is dripping with history; from old Hollywood starlets to celebrated political figures it has always been the place to see and be seen. Amongst the glitterati who frequently dined at the Savoy Grill was Sir Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. To this day, the table plan has been carefully preserved ensuring this history is not lost.”

Hanging from the ceiling are Art Deco inspired Swarovski chandeliers. Lucite walls lined with antique mirrors and luxurious mohair velvet coverings  which bring a new level of elegance to the room whilst at the same time restoring it to its former glory. 

The meal: 

Scottish lobster bisque with poached lobster and brandy butter £16.00

The lobster bisque was good. It had the taste and although strong in flavour, it wasn’t fishy. Worth trying.

Steak tartare £15.00

This was Chris’ dish, looks tasty no?

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Confit Herdwick lamb shoulder with crushed potatoes and black olive jus £26.00

I would say the best dish of the night, I didn’t have much of it since it was Louise’s main, but it wasn’t dry. That’s a very good sign. I hate dry meat.

Roasted Orkney scallops with English peas and saffron velouté £26.00

Dan and Mel ordered this, I did not try this, but it looks like it would just…melt in your mouth.

Below is my dish, the Calf’s liver. It was okay, I’m not a big fan of liver, so I’m not sure why I ordered it…

Calf’s liver £26.00

We also had side dishes, these were:

Mashed potatoes £4.50, Creamed or sautéed spinach £4.50, Cauliflower cheese gratin £4.50, Sautéed mushrooms with shallots £4.00

I loved the side dishes. Loved them. (Probably because I love cheese and mushroom. I eat them with anything)

Service: Top notch. At these places waiters can be over friendly or too in your face when you just want to talk to your friends, but at Savoy it was just right. 12.5% service charge + £2.00 cover charge per head

Bits and bobs:

  • There is cloakroom service.
  • Bookings strongly recommended, via toptable, bookatable or through its own website.
  • A good place for celebrity spotting!

Price: £££

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Louise and Dan (eyeing up her food)
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Melanie and Chris (who is also not looking into the camera)

Savoy Grill on Urbanspoon

Square Meal