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Le Cafe Anglais


naebody
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(as to whether it will succeed... all I can say is it was pretty packed last night for a Sunday evening in late Jan, and this is some time after the newly-opened rush and presumably before its appearence in all the guide books)

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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Went to LCE on a Thursday evening a couple of weeks ago and after eventually finding it on the top floor of a grim shopping centre, ( Open table gave the incorrect address when booking), we were very impressed.

They were full all evening but service was efficient ( although I agree that it could be a little more polished).

Highlights food wise were rabbit rillettes, which were dense and perfectly seasoned, smoked eel which was rich yet had a beautifully subtle smoked flavour, and spit roast baby lamb which as good an example of this dish as I have even eaten.

I was less impressed by the pike boudin which was very light but bland and my partridge would have benefited hugely from a few minutes less cooking time.

The dining room had a great atmosphere and the wine list had an excellent selection which were sensibly marked up.

After an excellent review from Tom Doorley in the Irish Times a couple of weeks ago I'm sure it will prove a popular destination with Irish diners visiting London.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lunch today was not bad-a herb omelette the interior of which was as it should be, but whose exterior seemed to have been steamed-no colouring, no butter, unattractive, then rump of beef(I asked for it blue, which is how you get medium rare in most London places) with a very precise red wine gravy, excellent chips(bravo!) and delicious though over and unevenly dressed watercress. The beef was good but parsimoniously served. Pudding was rather dry almond cake with blood oranges, and a (separate)lovely scoop of rhubarb sorbet.Expensive for what it is but has many attractive aspects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My post was going to start "If Conran had opened this restaurant...." then I reread this thread noticed Tim's post. The first thing we both said when we walked in was "It's like a Conran place, like Bluebird". This is the sort of food that you should be able to get in every suburb of London in a small family run restaurant. Nothing wrong with the food, indeed the Boudin was a very nice dish, however, everything else about the place just screamed early 1990's. Do I really have to get a tram, a train and two tubes to get roast pork with apple sauce?

Roast middlewhite pork with apple sauce, was exactly that,, leg of blackface lamb with celeriac puree came with black truffle which smelt damp (frozen or tinned?). Everything was very ordinary IMO, nothing to set it apart except the large room which I imagine would be very nice for lunch.

I'm just not getting the adulation at all, overall pretty dull and I don't care if it belongs to Rowley Leigh or Terence Conran, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I think people like food that comes from a recognisable tradition and doesn't try to be original-I certainly do, and think it a way forward for gastronomy. Most classic dishes are simply not available in really top-class renditions in London, and people rightly love them, particularly those who enjoy good wine, which doesn't go terribly well with more modern styles.

I would accept that the level of execution here is not currently as high as it needs to be.

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I had dinner here last night. I thought the food on the whole was enjoyable without being memorable.

Hors d'oeuvre - rabbit rillets, anchovy custard, salsify fritters, pickled herring - all well executed, flavourful getting the taste buds going. Could easily eat lots of these for lunch. Couldn't tell whether the dip with the fritters was aioli or mayonaise - needed more bite either way.

Proper starters of pike boudin, smoked eel salad, foie gras terrine, escarole salad with stilton dressing. I have not had boudin before but found it a little dull - more creamy potato with a mild hint of fish really. Mine was also considerably smaller than another on the table....not that size matters of course! Salads were good, jelly with foie, fridge cold.

Main Courses of squab pigeon, lamb, pork, haddock. They gave us the wrong haddock dish (essentially a kedgeree that had been on at lunch apparently). All tasted exactly as they should have - thought the portions a little small (this may be a country thing - we generally serve more than two very thin slices of shoulder pork & a blob of apple puree for £16!).

My squab pigeon was beautiful rare and tender but had no indication it had been cooked on the rotisserie. The root vegetables with it were mainly carrots.

I thought it odd our starter plates were the same size as our main course plates.

My pudding of custard tart with stewed rhubarb was okay - fridge cold so couldn't really taste much.

What really struck me though was the service. I know people have mentioned it before but I would have expected better by now especially given the number of staff to customers and the fact they were not rushed off their feet. We were asked to go to the table before our full party had arrived (though not late). It took an age to get an answer about the haddock which meant we couldn't be bothered to change it when they offered. (They did take it off the bill). Coffee order was taken with pudding order and delivered with pudding so I sent them away only for them to take a long time to reappear when we asked for them twice - no crema on my esperesso. Pudding plates left infront of us for at least 15 minutes from when we finished. Had to ask twice for sugar with coffee.

But hey ho, they were busy, most customers looked happy to be there and the food was fine - I just didn't feel service was that gracious, something I had also experienced at lunch earlier that day.

piers

Edited by bakerestates (log)
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I just didn't feel service was that gracious, something I had also experienced at lunch earlier that day.

piers

You didn't like it much yet you went twice in one day?

No, sorry, I was elsewhere for lunch. Not worth mentioning.

I didn't dislike it, I just thought the food could have been better and certainly the service.

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