One of my favourite restaurants in the world has to be Les Gourmets des Ternes in Paris – the French team at 2K were lovely enough to take me there on a couple of occasions when we were hosting press events in Paris. Rather inconspicuous from the outside, the restaurant is in fact very popular and usually needs a reservation. I was always glad to have the French team there with me – even though I studied French at University, the experience at this restaurant can be quite overwhelming. The menu is all handwritten in French and the attitude is very much ‘go with the flow’ – on the occasions I’ve been there, big portions of terrines and pates have been passed around the restaurant and you just help yourself!
The owner, Jean-Francois Marie, is a great character and attracts lots of celebrities – the tablecloths are printed with messages from famous people, from politicians to film stars!
So when I learned that Les Gourmets was going to open in London last week, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to see if it would still have that same feel as in Paris. However, there was a bit of a mix up! I went onto the website, which displayed an address in Maida Vale. I e-mailed to make a reservation and on Saturday, Tim and I went along for our dinner. The restaurant was empty when we arrived, and we were seated at a nice two-seat table, but by the end of our meal the little restaurant was packed, with a fantastic atmosphere all around us. At the point of paying our bill, when I asked the waiter how the first week had gone, I was shocked to learn that they had already been open for a year, and in fact, they had just opened their second restaurant in Knightsbridge – we were in the wrong place! This wasn’t a problem, of course, I just felt bad for the team at the other restaurant, who must have thought that we just didn’t show up! So to clarify, there are two in London now – one in Maida Vale and one in Knightsbridge!
Now let’s get down to the important business – the food! I was hoping it would be the same or similar menu as in Paris, and indeed it was, with the same kind of decor.
For starter we chose the terrine selection (duck and boar) and some garlic snails, as we both love them!
For main course, we both decided on the steak and chips, as I knew this was the speciality in the Paris restaurant. It certainly didn’t disappoint – it was rare and a bit bloody (just how we both like it), and we also ordered some spinach and peppercorn sauce on the side. I don’t think I’ve heard so many ‘yum’ noises from Tim in a restaurant for a long time. He was very impressed!
We managed to find some room for dessert and we shared a lemon meringue tart and cheese selection, followed by a nice glass of whisky each.
It was every bit as good as the Paris restaurant – the food was up to the same standard and luckily, the atmosphere was just as great. The service was a tiny bit slow, but I think this was probably down to it being a Saturday night and the place being at full capacity. We spent more than we originally intended to (probably about the same as we would spend at somewhere like Gaucho or Goodmans) but as we were enjoying it so much, and we had a 3 course meal with wine and whisky each, it was very much worth it!
Now I just need to visit the Knightsbridge location, finally! 😉