Ah putain. Yes I had the snails. Oh and we went to L’escargot in Soho for a Sunday roast.
Straight in there with a picture of my food. What is going on?
Oui madame, L’Escargot in Soho was the destination for this week’s roast dinner adventure.
A French restaurant serving le British Sunday roast? Le ros-bif for les ros-bifs? Can you tell I got a B in GCSE French? Did you know L’Escargot did a Sunday roast?
I fell in love with L’Escargot, pretty much from the doorway mosaic onwards.
There was an utterly classic vibe when entering L’Escargot, walking through the corridor, being greeted cheerfully by every member of waiting staff who were giving off a very good impression of enjoying actually being there. The walls, tables and chairs perspired this sense of how much they’ve seen over the years. The restaurant as a living entity gave off this confidence of quality – like they were totally assured that everyone would be happy.
Rosa Bonheur’s trousers
And oui, the snails were better than in Paris. I merde you not.
Inside L’Escargot was painted mustard yellow with large mirrors and had been lavishly decorated as if the owner got harrowingly drunk on the opening night of the RA’s Summer Exhibition one year and ended up with the shock of 200 weird artworks turning up several weeks later. I did something similar once, but opened the mystery box to find that I’d drunkenly ordered a vuvuzela. I am art anyway.
Speaking of art, we went to Women In Revolt at Tate Britain beforehand to admire the struggle of female equality over the decades – you know I don’t normally do politics on this blog, but it is crazy to think that equal pay for women wasn’t a thing until 1975. Lesbian rights were unheard of even when gay rights were partially decriminalised – men even had the right to have sex with their wives without consent. Mental to think about it, though I am part of le wokisme.
It didn’t especially feel like the exhibition that I should take photographs of hot naked women at, so you’ve got a photograph of a women inside a washing machine costume – but I can assure you that the standard of naked women artwork was superb. Strangely enough, in terms of men it was pretty much only me and my father there. It’s almost as if guys are not interested in the fight for women’s equality.
In other equally shocking news, Trump is a peado (allegedly…I have to put that, right?):
Is Trump a peado or a pedo? The internet has confused me. According to the National Enquirer, in case Trump’s lawyers are reading…should he have any that are still willing to work for him.
Simone de Beauvoir’s Glasses
Time to talk menus.
There was only one roast dinner on the menu – though everything came with cabbage, carrots and roast potatoes. It’s advertised at £35.00 for 2 courses, or £39.00 for 3 courses. Of course, I ordered the snails – my father also had the salmon for starters, of which he was in high praise.
With beef rib as the only option, beef rib it was.
It was a little tricky to photograph without a shadow – and the presentation is mine as it was one of those build-it-yourself roasts.
Starting with the carrots, oui madame of course. There’s little to say about them but they were on the softer side of crunch, and tasted rather sweet.
The cabbage was stand-out – so buttery in feel, and just glorious to taste. Even my cabbage-eschewing mother complimented it – of which I never knew she didn’t like cabbage, but it kind of explains why we had a lot of peas as a child, and no cabbage. Peas ended up behind the cupboard somehow – even back then I knew that you couldn’t trust the blighters.
Émilie du Châtelet’s Conservation Of Energy
There were enough roast potatoes in the bowl for everyone to have 4 – a 5th was possible though I eschewed the opportunity as there was dessert to come, and the opportunity wasn’t something I especially craved.
That said, they were decent enough – a mixture of textures, some soft, some crispy, sometimes a little dry. Better than average, but that isn’t the world’s strongest compliment.
Then…a shock for which I have dedicated photographic evidence:
The yorkie is fluffy inside! It was a nice fluffy, freshly-cooked yorkie – if a little tearable in texture also.
Can a French restaurant do good beef? Of course they can – the beef rib was superb. Varying in texture, some parts around the edge were quite well done and crispy, though much of it was juicy and on the rarer side, with the accompanying fat of the rib. Really tasty – and you could really smell the beef too, despite having a cold. Yeah, I had to go into the office for a day – and with totally coincidental timing, 48 hours later I had a cold. In fact, I wasn’t even in there for a day, just a morning to pick up a brand new MacBook which I then had to smuggle through Croydon in this massive obvious HELLO THIS IS AN EXPENSIVE MACBOOK box.
There’s only the gravy left to talk about, at least from the main plate – it had close to the perfect consistency, but I wasn’t massively keen on the tomato-base flavour, nor the slight tang. I guess it makes sense in a French restaurant, plus other accomplices really enjoyed it, so this is more a personal preference thing. I’d always prefer gravy that was more meat-stock based.
Unusually we all had desserts – Dry January tends to be my excuse for eating more dessert. Having FOMO’d it from another table, I went for the chocolate soufflé – which was extremely delicate brown sponge with a crispy outside, some creamy vanilla ice cream popped into the top, with chocolate sauce poured on top.
It was pleasingly performative, yet didn’t really taste much of chocolate. There was a sense of what could have been. I perhaps should have chosen the tarte du citron.
Institution is the word I was looking for earlier when trying to describe L’Escargot – and even more importantly than being an institution, they do a very, very good roast dinner.
The only thing you could argue that could be improved were the roast potatoes, but the percentage of times that I say that is even higher than the percentage of women to men in the Women In Revolt exhibition.
If I scored as a whole restaurant experience, service, menu, all the food, decoration, vibe, drinks (alcohol-free mojito didn’t pain me too much) then it would be around a 9 out of 10. That isn’t how I do things – but that is how highly I rated L’Escargot as an experience.
That didn’t stop two accomplices scoring it that highly – my mother scored it a 9.00, the beef being even better than you can get in Hull, apparently. And better than Blacklock – of which I’d agree, the beef was better than Blacklock’s (but not the roasties, gravy or dessert). My sister, scored it a even more whopping 9.30 out of 10. My father who had the venison with peppercorn sauce, scored his an 8.90.
I’m a little conflicted here. The beef rib was outstanding, as were the vegetables. Yet the roasties were improvable – so how high can I score it? Especially when I wasn’t keen on the gravy flavour. An 8.27 out of 10 feels about right.
L’Escargot feels like it should be on every Londoner’s “must eat at once in your life” list. It should be on yours, and you could even order the roast beef. I dearly hope I get the chance to visit on a Friday/Saturday too. Worth noting that they do a 2 course lunch/pre-theatre menu for £25.00.
On the way out, I saw Jay Rayner’s review on the wall, which made me wonder how many places have printed up my review and put it on the wall. Zero? Maybe less? Someone told me I’m better than Jay Rayner anyway, so maybe I don’t need to be on any walls. Oui, she is related to me.
Plus the chances of my review being on the wall given that I’ve copied the accusations of America’s first ever incarcerated ex-president of being a peado are slim.
Next week I’m going off-list – somewhere my regular accomplice thinks will be really good, somewhere I think will be fake posh pish…or at least the roast dinner will be. Who will be right?
Station: Tottenham Court Road
Tube Lines: Central, Elizabeth, Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Beef rib was superb, yorkie was fluffy, cabbage was so buttery and the whole experience was a delight.
Loathed: Roasties could have been better (tis always the case though), and the tomato-base of the gravy wasn't my cup of tea - though there was nothing wrong with it, and it had a good consistency.