Tag Archives: Leicester Square

Le Garrick: Leicester Square

I must have walked past Le Garrick about 700 times (literally – twice a day for a year give or take) and finally got round to visiting this week with my fiancé’s family. It’s a gorgeous, atmospheric place with a lovely story – it’s been running for 25 years, but was taken over 8 years ago by the manager Dominika and Frenchman Charles who was previously a regular. Charles sent the head chef Rocco to SW France to train with none other than his mum, so on the menu you’ll find nothing but hearty, traditional French fare direct from Toulouse.

There are a few tables at ground level but most of the restaurant is down a spiral staircase into the cellar, where there are various nooks and crannies to settle into. We were seated quickly and served by various friendly, lively French staff.

I started with the Escargots de Bourgogne – snails to you and me. They were delicious – not at all chewy or slimy, but swimming in butter, salty and very garlicky, just how I like.. well, pretty much anything. There was soft, chewy, crusty baguette to soak up all the juice, which was almost as good as the meat itself, and more butter to put on the bread. Heaven. I also tasted the moules marinière (more garlic, also herby and winey, big and tender) and pâté, which had a nice strong meaty flavour and chunky texture.

Escargots de Borgogne

I tackled the Coquelet (whole baby chicken) for the main, and while it was cooked so it was lovely and moist with a flavoursome tomato sauce, the portion was huge. I also tried the Confit de Canard, lovely duck confit with a heart bean stew – gorgeous flavours and again, a huge portion.

Confit de Canard

Dinner came to about £30 per head for 2/3 generous courses, so great value for the West End, and they finished off with a complimentary digestif of a prune liqueur – perhaps not the particular spirit that I’d choose again (!) but a nice touch, and I’d highly recommend the whole experience.

http://www.frenchrestaurantlondon.co.uk/

*Excuse some of the pics – it was atmospheric (dark)

Le Garrick on Urbanspoon

Murakami: Leicester Square

Part of the reason for the existence of Feeding Franklin is so I have an outlet to bang on about lovely places I get to go to and also to share recipes and little things I’ve cooked (although this part is normally because I’m surprised it’s worked). I don’t like being too negative, partly due to first hand knowledge of how soul destroying it is as restaurant management to read a horrible blog post, so I dithered for a week about whether to post this. I decided that the hefty positives are so promising that it was worth a mention.

Murakami is a sushi and robata grill restaurant on St Martin’s Lane, on the old Jamie’s Wine Bar site. In addition to the above I have to emphasise that it has just finished its soft launch (as of yesterday) so teething problems are to be expected – that’s what a soft launch and discount period are for – it was 50% off food until 5th January.

Miso pork belly
Miso pork belly

To get the negatives out of the way, we were seated straight away but so far into a corner that my arm was in the coat rack. Slightly annoying when the whole middle section was empty, although we didn’t ask to move so joint responsibility. Our waitress was very sweet but struggled to understand what we were ordering or any questions asked. We got miso soup instead of miso marinated pork belly, despite questioning it when she brought a soup spoon, and when I asked whether what we had ordered was enough for a main meal (about 6 dishes) received blankness then a yes – it definitely wasn’t. The biggest shame was burnt scallops – I know, a travesty! They were tender and juicy but scarred with too-black griddle lines underneath where left on too long, making them bitter.

Ill-fated scallops
Ill-fated scallops

However! Despite communication problems the staff are lovely; the hostess was effusively friendly, and one of the managers brought over complimentary Champagne to make up for their mistakes which was great – although oddly only one between the two of us. The food we had (scallops aside) was gorgeous – the yellowtail sashimi was delicate, soft and light, and the pork belly tender and flavourful, complimented with the sweet marinade. Even the miso soup, although a surprise addition, was rich and almost meaty, much better than the weak ones with one piece of slimy tofu you get in Pret.

Yellowtail sashimi
Yellowtail sashimi

The place also looks lovely – great lighting and décor, and it’s obviously in a great location if you work central and/or are going to the theatre.  Despite my moaning I’m curious to give it a try down the line and if it’s all amazing will eat my words. (Which will be tastier than burnt scallops..)

*Excuse my pics, it was pretty dark in our corner

Murakami on Urbanspoon