This closed in April 2010. It will not be missed.
The large dining room at the Grosvenor House hotel has that inevitable “hotel dining room” feel, to which the muzak does not help. However the chairs are fairly comfortable and service was really excellent: friendly, efficient and without a hint of stuffiness, orchestrated by a manager who worked at La Trompette with chef Ollie Couillard (who had a night off the night we ate) when he was cooking there. The menu is firmly bistro territory, but with a strong slant towards the south west of France and the Basque region. Fish soup was £7.50, for example, and most starters were around that price. Main courses were mostly £12.50 - £16.50, with the odd few pricier items such as lobster. Desserts are £6.50. The wine list was almost entirely from the south west of France, with Mas de Daumas Gassac being the best known example from this region at £55.
I began with marinated scallops wrapped in cured ham with puy lentils. The scallops themselves were fine but their taste was lost partly due to the strong taste of the ham, and partly the crushingly acidic hazelnut vinaigrette, which really spoilt the dish for me (11/20). Salt cod brandade was pleasant though its texture was a little grainy (13/20). My cassoulet was pleasant, with very tender beans and decent sausage (13/20). A steak with chips was well prepared and had decent chips.
Lemon tart was rather a sorry affair, pastry that was a little hard and with a filling that had too much lemon, giving an over-sharp taste when it just be off-setting the sweetness of the rest of the filling (11/20). Perhaps the best dish was a little foie gras ballotine served with some hams as an intermediate course: smooth and with lovely flavour. Cheese was from Premiere Cheese and was generally in good condition (15/20). Somewhere between 12/20 and 13/20 overall for me, but the slips worry me so I have been conservative in the score.