I recently visited Marco Pierre Whites’ L’Escargot with my one and only French friend, Estelle.
My first visit to L’Escargot was also with Estelle celebrating a mutual friend’s engagement and Estelle has since returned several times, each time reporting good reviews, so I was glad to return and try out more of the menu.
We decided to bypass the appetisers to ensure we could fit in dessert and I chose a duck dish for my main which was very impressive for the £20.50 price tag.
The beautifully seasoned honey-glazed duck breast was cooked exactly how I like it, crisp and flavourful on the outside with the perfect amount of crispy fat and tender, rare and melt-in-the-mouth meat in the centre.
The bird came with some crushed new potatoes that had a delicious crunch to them from some kind of coarse salt, some just-cooked pak choi and a colourful and tasty port jus. The whole dish was neatly and attractively presented and I enjoyed every last mouthful.
Estelle selected a salmon dish, and once again it was well-received. The salmon fillet had been pan-fried, and so just like my duck, it had that delicious, well-seasoned crust on the outside and was cooked to perfection, with just a touch of rareness in the centre. Served on a bed of couscous flavoured with sweet peppers and surrounded by a gazpacho style sauce, this was another well-presented dish with the taste matching up to the style.
We decided to share on the dessert front and happily opted for a chocolate dessert and the cheese board as the pair of us are absolutely obsessed with both. And me being with an absolute connoisseur of French cheese I was happy to take Estelle’s lead.
Our cheese board consisted of Comté which is a favourite for both of us, and three other cheeses, two of which I had yet to try and am now converted to. The Fromage de Chevre Cendré is a rich goats cheese that is flavoured with ash, and so predictably had a smoky, deliciousness about it. The Reblochon is a seriously smelly cheese that has a similar texture and appearance to Brie, but a much stronger, nuttier flavour. Our shared favourite cheese was the Fourme D’Ambert – an unctuous blue cheese, which gives my favoured English Stilton a run for its money – perfection. Grapes, celery and a few small crackers came with, but we asked for some more bread to enjoy with our dairy feast – very, very satisfying.
For our final, sweet treat we chose the chocolate fondant, which is always a pleasure when done well as it was done at L’Escargot. With the firm, crumbly almost chocolate crust on the outside and the oozing dark chocolate centre this was truly heavenly. It came with a scoop of milk ice cream, which in reality tasted of pure vanilla, but nevertheless was superb, and a thin, curved sweet tuille or wafer biscuit which added to the, once again, fantastic presentation.
We spent around £45 each here for a very good meal with no complaints whatsoever so I’ll certainly return again. The value of the food coupled with the exceptional quality and service is what sets this place apart from others in the Soho area.
L’Escargot is the ultimate in classic yet contemporary food so if you haven’t already – definitely give it a try, my prediction is that this will be around for years to come - unlike the few different Soho burger joints Estelle and I tried to get a table at beforehand and weren't willing to wait 2 hours for.