The dining room has an attractive ground floor space with plenty of dark wood panelling and a cosy bar. The wine list, as one might hope when the owner is a sommelier, had some good growers, and the pricing was not fierce. The excellent Brumaire dessert wine at £26 for a 50cl bottle (retail £10.85) was a nice example of this. Starters were £6 - £12, main courses £14 - £20, desserts £7 - £10.
We were seated in the basement, with four tables next to the wine cellar. My starter of pumpkin soup with bacon and croutons was surprisingly watery, with rather soggy croutons (12/20). Much better was a salad of warm scallops, sweet and correctly cooked, with tender charlotte potatoes and a truffle vinaigrette (14/20). Egg cocotte was served with pan-fried forest mushrooms and parsley emulsion, a mix that I am not sure really worked (13/20) but easily the best starter was breaded frogs legs, cooked beautifully, with a fairly intense watercress puree and scrambled eggs (15/20). Bread was pleasant, either white, brown or cereal slices (14/20).
My main course of pave of rump steak had plenty of flavour, served with a good gratin of Jerusalem artichokes (15/20). Pan-fried John Dory was cooked too long, with a breadcrumb crust and pleasant bak choi with nice “vin jaune” clams (13/20). Roasted mallard was wild duck, cooked well with lightly spiced caramel, glazed turnips and a confit of lemon (15/20). A meringue with passion fruit sorbet was an odd affair, with lovely sorbet yet terrible, chewy meringue (perhaps 12/20 overall). Coffee was fine.
Service was rather eccentric; one waitress spoke not a word of English, our main waitress just a little. It was all friendly enough, though when we asked about whether the waitress would recommend the pigeon or the duck the response “the duck since the little bird, it should be alive” was not quite the response I was expecting.Book