Published on May 20th, 2015 | by Lumy George0
Le Garrick, Covent Garden
Summary: Traditional French cuisine cooked extremely well
There is much to be said about the relationship we Brits share with our European neighbours, with a history littered with trying times as well as great collaborations. Having read and studied about times before my generation, I am glad there is a freedom for us all to share in our cultures and heritage. This sharing of cultures is no more evident than in the culinary diversity across Europe. Many flavours, techniques and dishes have been shared, with one of the bigger influences coming from our closest of European neighbours, France.
From as far back as I can remember, my parents loved nothing more than a quick weekend break to France, be it in Paris or some of the country’s more southerly regions such as Marseille or Toulon. The occasional times I went with them on the trip, I remember the morning visits to the boulangerie with its delicate engulfing scents from fresh pastries and bread or wondering why my parents were drinking wine at lunch.
I am sure it is moments and memories such as these that the team at Le Garrick have tried to take us back to. From the moment I walk in, with the littlest of fuss and extravagance, a warm welcome is offered. This warmth continues with seemingly all staff members with beaming smiles and enquiries into how our day had been. Rather than forced, this felt like returning home for the holidays to a house full of family. After being seated, our waitress introduced herself and offered us the menu. Fortunately for me, a set menu featuring some the restaurants more iconic dishes had been prepared, leaving me pressure free to be able to snoop through the menu.
Entrée soon arrived at the table, accompanied by Charles, the owner of Le Garrick and a man who seemingly had as much character and charm as the food in front of me. Charles introduced himself and then gave a brief explanation about the Foie Gras and Charcuterie dishes. Both were traditional dishes from the south of France, a region very familiar to him. He explained how his passion for food forced him to continually search the regions of his childhood for the highest quality ingredients.
The Foie Gras had a creamy texture with rich buttery notes and delicate flavours. The Charcuterie board contained a variety of handpicked meats including chicken pate, ham and saucisson. The saucisson which is similar to an Italian salami was full of rich bold flavours. Charles talked through how the ham had been hung for 18 months which created a maturity and depth in flavour that defiantly woke my taste buds with it delicious and complex taste.
Having been sufficiently enticed by the entrée, my anticipation for starters was at an all-time high. Fortunately the wait wasn’t long with ‘Cassolette de Calamars’ and ‘Escargot de Bourgogne’ arriving at the table. The calamari which had been pan seared in a garlic, chilli and ginger sauce were soft yet firm to the bite. The sauce was delicately balanced leaving the fresh flavour of the calamari to shine.
I’m sure like myself, whilst being a fan of French cuisine, there are some of the more specialist dishes that I’m not too keen on. Escargot would be one of those dishes for me; never the less considering this dish was a Le Garrick ‘must try’, I tentatively tried my first snail. Wow, there not bad I thought. The silky butter and garlic sauce had infused into the snail so with each bite its unique flavour was not only being complimented but also enhanced, it was like a marriage made in heaven. This flavour profile on paper may not be to everyone’s taste, but I must say that I’m now converted, the escargot have my seal of approval.
Before the arrival of mains, Charles was kind enough to share a small anecdote. He told of how each year, he along with his chefs go on a pilgrimage back to his home in the south of France. He and his team spend time learning traditional techniques from his parents, creating and developing new dishes for the restaurant. I found this insight fascinating, it showed Charles passion for upholding traditions whilst also developing new creations from this steady foundation. As well as this, how refreshing to see someone so dedicated to his employees development. It was very evident that all the staff enjoyed their jobs and ensuring each customer’s time at Le Garrick was memorable.
For the main, having been torn between a steak and the fish of the day, I finally settle on the Entreĉote Grillée, a 4oz 28-day hung rib eye on the bone. This was a wonderful piece of meat cooked with the respect and care it deserved, its rich juicy goodness along with bold notes was a delight to eat. Admittedly by this stage I was struggling a little, but my steak was far too good not to finish.
Dinner was concluded with a warm Fondant au chocolate. For me nothing beats a warm chocolate dessert with ice cream and this one was right up there with that silky chocolate sauce we all love oozing out as I cut through it. Although wonderfully light and fluffy, the richness of the chocolate added real weighting to the sweet. A very indulgent way to finish a meal, but having been indulged all evening, ending in such a way only seemed fitting.
Le Garrick does have fierce competition being located in the heart of Covent Garden, yet to me I don’t get the sense that this small French retreat is in the slightest bit concerned. The whole team led by Charles have put the focus on quality ingredients with provenance, traditional dishes cooked with the kind of love and passion you get from mum’s cooking and an ambience within the restaurant that makes you feel comfortable, relaxed and special. With all that, what more could you need?
Bravo Le Garrick et merci.
Le Garrick, 10-12 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BHShare This Post