This neighbourhood restaurant in St John’s Wood has been open since 1979, run by French chef/patron Catherine Parisot. The building is in a residential neighbourhood a short walk from Abbey Road studios, and on the day I visited just about every diner appeared to be a regular.
The dining room seats 45 at capacity and has wooden floor and green upholstery. The menu was, somewhat eccentrically, handwritten and in French, with three courses at £24.50. The all-French wine list ranged in price from £25.50 to £175, with examples like
Dopff Pinot Blanc 2013 at £28.50 For a bottle that can be found in the high street for £14, Chateau Corbin St Emilion 2007 at a chunky £75 compared to a retail price of £17, and Domaine Maratray-Dubreil Corton Clos du Roi 2012 at £125 For a label that will set you back £60 In the shops.
Bread was bought in from Gail's Artisan Bakery in Marylebone High Street (the “Artisan” label seems a bit of a stretch for a chain with 17 branches now) and was pretty ordinary. They would, in my view, be better off with a higher grade of bread supplier. My starter of tian of crab and avocado had a grapefruit dressing and pomegranate seeds, a logical choice to provide some freshness and balance to the avocado. The fruit was ripe and the crab of good quality, entirely free of shell. Perhaps a little more dressing would not have come amiss but this was a very enjoyable dish (14/20).
Quail came on the bone with a sauce of its cooking juices, confit quail legs, celeriac purée and some pear to provide acidity to balance the meat. The bird was nicely cooked and seasoned, the celeriac puree giving an earthy flavour note. There was not much jus but again this was a quibble: another well-balanced and carefully made dish (14/20).
Tarte fine aux pommes had reasonable pastry and the apple had good consistency. The Braeburn apples used seemed a bit lacking in flavour but given that the apple picking season in the UK had not yet started presumably these were imported (13/20).
Coffee was pleasant, Colombian in origin from a supplier called A.E. Stanton. Service was competent and the bill came to £34 including mineral water and coffee. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head would be around £55, which seems entirely fair to me for what is enjoyable and well-made food. This restaurant may be invisible to social media (at the time of writing they do not even have a web site) but it is clear why it is still going strong 36 years after opening. It is a charming little place.