LONDON EATERIES – Cosy French dining at Le Garrick, Covent Garden
Tucked around the corner from Leicester Square station, and mere paces away from Covent Garden, Le Garrick is inviting from the offset, a classic old world vibe accentuated by a bottle green canopy and a frontage studded with windows. They proudly boast traditional regional French style cooking, and a superb collection of wines, which the sommelier is happy to talk you through,
We walked into a deceptively small upper floor bar and were lead down a set of stairs to the deliciously cool and dark restaurant below. It feels like a wine cellar in an old manor house, and the space has been cleverly enhanced with mirrors covered in a sumptuous gold patina. The atmosphere was comfortable and had an exclusive tucked-away feeling that must often come with manor house wine cellars. We were made to feel very welcome, and escorted to our table by lovely staff with the offer of the cocktail special, which, topped with crushed ice and fresh mint, quite honestly tasted like sunshine and sparkled on the tongue.
It had an exclusive tucked-away feeling that must often come with manor house wine cellars.
We were looked after by a very attentive waiter, who it turned out had endless patience as well as charm, as he guided us through the perilous task of picking our starters from the menu. Honestly all we could see was dish after dish that looked just delicious. On his enthusiastic recommendation, we decided on the fondue for two. When it arrived, along with a fresh basket of warm bread, what was presented to us was a delicious looking wheel of pale creamy cheese. It had been baked in its own light wooden container, and a smoky overtone tickled the tongue as we ate. We both kept saying to each other we really shouldn’t fill up on this molten feast, and yet soon we were scraping the bottom of the box with the remaining husks of bread.
As I had chosen the salmon and my companion the duck entrée, we were urged to opt for a white wine, and when I mentioned I loved a glass of dry, I was eagerly presented with two excellent choices. We went for the sauvignon, and I have to say it was absolutely ideal for our entrees; a light and flighty dart of flavour across the top of the tongue, followed by dry kick to the back of the throat.
All we could see was dish after dish that looked just delicious.
I enjoyed the salmon fillet with ratatouille and basil sauce. The fish light and flaky, and a moistness that made itself apparent with every bite. My ratatouille elegantly piled next to the fillet was a medley of vegetables, all perfectly cooked and complementary both in taste and colour. It was the perfect size, though my stomach was gently belaying the slight overindulgence of fondue, knowing that desert was yet to come.
My companion’s honey glazed duck served with minted green beans looked superb, and I was assured that it was indeed, through contented mouthfuls. The green beans were generous to a fault and amassed like a nest underneath her gently resting fowl.
We sadly bade farewell to our remaining scraps of vegetable, and then eagerly turned to the dessert menu. Deciding for something classic and light, I chose the crème brulée. It yielded with a crackle to the back of my spoon and I launched in for a beautiful rich dessert experience, my friend was equally impressed with her chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream, and we sat together in quiet companionable contentment.
We declined the offered coffee or aperitif, and were happily left to sit and enjoy the afterglow of what was a thoroughly excellent meal. On our way out we chatted with the staff, who had been implacably kind, cheerful and attentive all night, and were offered one last treat- a shot of what was intriguingly billed as the Water of Life. My companion and me were left warmed and mildly gasping by this fiery glass of liquor, and it left us feeling fortified and prepared to leave the cosy raw-brick walled establishment for the chilly London evening.
If you want authentic and deceptively simple French food cooked and served with passion, in what almost feels like a château deep in the countryside of Toulouse, please, seek out the green shuttered beacon for a hungry customer that is Le Garrick.
10-12 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9BH
Heart London 5 * Rating
Laura, Heart London Magazine