Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Angelus Opens 22 August 2007


Recommended Posts

Folks,

It's been a while.

I just got off the phone with Thierry Tomasin (previously, in case you were unaware, Maitre d' at Aubergine & Head Sommelier at Le Gavroche) who informed me he's opening his new restaurant, Angelus tomorrow night.

I was delighted to to get an invitation to the opening, and I'll let you know how it goes.

FWIW, it's located at the site of the old Archery pub at 4 Bathurst St in Bayswater. I believe it's French brasserie style.

Cheers, Howard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Folks,

It's been a while.

I just got off the phone with Thierry Tomasin (previously, in case you were unaware, Maitre d' at Aubergine & Head Sommelier at Le Gavroche) who informed me he's opening his new restaurant, Angelus tomorrow night.

I was delighted to to get an invitation to the opening, and I'll let you know how it goes.

FWIW, it's located at the site of the old Archery pub at 4 Bathurst St in Bayswater. I believe it's French brasserie style.

Cheers, Howard

When I arrived yesterday evening, there were clearly a few last minute bits of construction to complete. For me, this didn't hinder the evening one bit though.

I have to say that I am struggling rather desperately this morning after rather too many Champagnes. As an opening, it was finger food only last night, so I feel it unfair to attempt to give it a representative food review yet.

As a venue however, it is rather classically done on the ground floor with room for around 40 covers in the front room and a smaller, more casual, lounge area at the rear. Downstairs reveals a private dining room surrounded by the wine cellar, and a chef's table seating five.

They will open seven days a week, serving all day. I don't think the intention is to be a Michelin contender, seeming to me to be more a brasserie style.

It was joyous indeed to also bump into many old friends from Le Gavroche: Michel Jr, Silvano and their irrepresible sommelier Francois Bertrand helped make it an evening never to forget, despite my excesses.

Certainly once I've kicked myself back into gear I'll return and give a much more foodie based critique than I've managed today.

Cheers, Howard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, went along for their first Friday night to see how things were shaping up. It was close to capacity by 9pm, although most of the customers seemed to be French and extremely monied so I guess there must be some Aubergine carry-over. Was saddened to note that they've opened directly opposite a reliable old-school French local called Pere Michel, which has been ticking for about 20 years but is suddenly looking a bit dowdy and forlorn. Hope there's enough business around for both places to survive.

Anyway, the room's in a belle epoque style, with a few bits of the old pub still showing through. It's horribly over-lit and there are too many tables for the space, but otherwise it's quite glam. While there's no hints anywhere as to who's doing the cooking, Thierry Tomasin has his name on everything (the signage, the menus, the website, etc).

Service, as marshalled by the man himself, was was chatty, flirty and very French, rather than starchy formal. The problems -- 45-minute waits between courses, a sommellier who wasn't 100% sure of the cellar, a bill snafu -- were probably just first-week teething troubles. I suspect training was "on the job", as there seemed to be lots of waiters knocking around but not much actual waiting going on.

And so to the food. The menu's pretty long -- eight or so choices per course -- and aims a couple of notches higher than brasserie. Pricing looks to be in bargain territory at the moment, but bear in mind that portion size is miniscule. Seriously: add a couple of sides to your order if you don't want to stop at the chippie on the way home. Either that or get pissed: the wine markups looked to be less than 100% versus retail, even on the lower slopes of the list.

Like most other diners, I kicked off with a "foie gras creme brulee" (£7), which was precisely as you'd imagine, and no worse because of it. The Date made enthusiastic noises about a jewel-like artichoke ravioli with a poached egg and hazelnut oil (£6). Then came six spindly ribs of lamb flanking a small knot of carrots (£16), all of which looked lost on the plate but demonstrated that the kitchen knows how to do medium rare. The Date's vegetable and mushroom casserole (£14) was a lot better than it sounds, albeit with a portion size bordering on comically mean for what is essentially rabbit food. A warm chocolate tart with caramel brittle and ice cream (£9) was required to avoid the chip shop, and was about as good as such things get.

Overall, it's an excellent local in an area otherwise full of tourist traps. It's certainly worth making a detour before the critics file their copy, at which point the booking line will go mental and the prices will rattle up. In summary: a B+. (It would have been an A- if they'd invested in a dimmer switch).

Edited by naebody (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

very briefly. went for lunch today, was very good.

sure, there are a few service crinkles, but nothing to get worked up about.

I neither agree about the prices being bargain, or that the portions were too small. but particularly on the latter, maybe things have changed. as for the prices, they were fair, but hardly discounted. £30 - £35 for 3 courses is a fair and reasonable price for a good brasserie, and this was a good brasserie experience.

a confit tuna with goats cheese was a rich, well balances starter in the wannabe mediterranean sun. carrot, cumin and orange soup was enhanced by a faint aromatic note from the cumin.

lovely john dory and a satifying rabbit pie were the mains, and deserts of choc mousse/hazelnut crumbs and cherry clafoutis were correct.

a good addition to the Racine/Galvin stable, and in a week or two when things settle, it might become special.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Went there Sunday for both lunch and dinner, a long story to do with those flakey friends who let you down that I am sure everyone endures.

I had the foie gras creme brulee starter for lunch and dinner, and it is definitely a triumph. It's, well, a creme brullee with poppy seeds on top, so it still retains a degree of a savoury nature. I sat there and scoffed it with Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Ch Bouscasse Brumaire Nov 2004 (~£20) and life could not be sweeter. Served with a couple of small bits of toast and lettuce.

For the lunch main I had the lamb chops with a Moroccan seasoning. Good, but I must say to me describing anything with a Moroccan flavour reads disaster: food in Morocco is nothing to write home about in my experience. Simple and tasty, although the lemon was a little too much for my taste. Came with mini carrots and a side of new tatties. I took a 2003 Luddite Shiraz with it.

For dinner, after the foie gras (with which I finished off the Pacherenc), I had the rabbit pie which was excellent. Trouble is it sounds rather dull, and in truth it doesn't get many prizes for appearance, but it is really very tasty. Served very simply in a gravy (sorry, jus) and a side of perhaps slightly over seasoned peppery lettuce. Used up some of lunchtime's Shiraz with it.

OK so the food's generally good.

My caveat right now is the service, and I did discuss it shortly with Thierry at the end of dinner. I would recommend giving them a couple of weeks to settle down.

For example, at lunch I was offered "more" bread, although I'd yet to get any. At dinner, I was never offered any bread at all, but the tables either side of me were on more than one occasion. I'd run out of water, the waiter knew I had because he looked at the empty bottle, picked it up, moved it six inches, and put it down again back on my table. After half an hour I had to ask twice for some more.

I had to ask what cheeses were that were on the assiette de fromage twice, before getting a response that there were three on there, a brie, a goats and a camembert, when in fact there were five on when I saw another diner going for it. I went for an almond panna cotta that was pretty tasty, although the panna cotta wasn't quite the consistency I was expecting.

Waiting for the bill was again hit and miss. Had to ask twice at dinner, and at both lunch and dinner I ended up getting up and making my way to the till in the end.

Wine list was interesting - definitely more in the real world than that at Aubergine (which was starting to get a little out of my league, although in recent months it seems to be returning to sensible prices). Those that sprang out were the Clos Henri NZ Sauvignon Blanc, and the South African Luddite shiraz at £35 and £44 respectively, so the gouge is pretty reasonable. House Champagne (Dampierre) is £39.

Clientelle at both lunch and dinner was predominantly locals: about 50% English, 25% North American and 25% French. I got there late for lunch, about 2:30, and it was about 3/4 full, and apparantly they'd already done two sittings. At dinner it was full.

In short, the food is good, the wine list is down to earth, but I would give it a few weeks for front of house to settle down. I am sure that if anyone is going to put that right, it'll be M Tomasin who'll do it.

Recommendations: foie gras creme brulee starter and rabbit pie.

Cheers, Howard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...