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Wednesday, 16 July 2014


In an age of pop ups, cupcake mania and the rise of bone marrow and tripe on our menus, you can’t walk down a street in London without tripping over a new food trend. Veganism is having a moment with the rise of the dreaded Coodle (courgette noodles), and Time Out reckons even the cheese toasty is next on the artisan hit list.
So when I see a restaurant which clearly hasn’t changed since it opened in 1896 (the wallpaper can attest to that) and has no care for what’s in gourmet fashion, I’m in.

L’Etoile is charming, unpretending and yes, a little bit naff. The décor of red plush seating and white linen is acres away from the battery chicken warehouses in East London and it makes a nice change to sit on something comfy instead of an old wooden crate while I enjoy my meal. There’s not a micro brewed beer or waxed moustache in sight and the maître’d wore a suit instead of an ironic T-Shirt. It reminds me of La Petite Chaise in Paris, and the food is just as good. Well presented, unfussy and good solid flavours.

To start I had chilled tomato, cucumber and red pepper soup with prawns and fennel cress and Mum had the seared scallops.
Next came pan fried fillet of Sea Bream with diced potatoes, carrots and spinach in a butter sauce for me, and duck breast with braised lettuce and a port reduction for Mum. The sauces were robust, the meat well cooked and the fish skin as crispy as it should be, all washed down with a couple of bottles of light Vinuva Pinot Grigio.

For pudding Mum went sweet with Crème Brûlée which shattered when she tapped it, with a crumbly walnut biscuit. I opted for a cheese plate with creamy Roquefort, brie and goats cheese.

We sat outside and spent the warm Summer evening chatting and watching the people coming down Charlotte Street before hailing an Uber car home. 

L'Etoile website is here.

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