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Sauterelle

Royal Exchange, City of London, London, EC3V 3LR, United Kingdom

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The Royal Exchange building in the heart of The City was established in 1565 as a commercial trading centre, the current building being the third on the same site opened in 1844. It continued in this role until 1939, but these days the building is a shopping centre. On the mezzanine level of the Royal Exchange building is the 62-seat restaurant Sauterelle. The name means “grasshopper”, in reference to the grasshopper on the ceiling of the atrium of the Royal Exchange building. Its head chef Arnaud Delanney has been in place since May 2012, having worked at another D&D restaurant called Plateau; earlier in his career he trained at The Square and Galvin Bistro de Luxe.

The menu was modern British in style, with starters priced at £7.50 to £13.50, main courses from £18.50 to £31, and vegetable side dishes extra at £3.50 apiece, desserts £7.50. The wine list ranged in price from £18.50 to £105, with plenty of choice under £40. Example wines included Malbec Altos Las Hormigas 2011 at £33 for a wine that you can pick up in the high street for around £10, Chianti Classico from Isole e Olena 2010 at £58 for a wine that retails at £19, and Gevrey-Chambertin Au Closeau Drouhin Laroze 2006 at £99 for a wine that will set you back around £45 in a wine merchant.

Bread is supplied by Boulangerie de Paris, and the sourdough bread that I tried was fine (14/20). A starter was enjoyable, quail breasts poached and seared and served with a quail Scotch egg, roasted butternut squash puree and a mixed leaf and chestnut salad. The bird was cooked correctly, the Scotch eggs had a soft centre and the salad was properly dressed (14/20). A veloute of Jerusalem artichokes was poured over chestnuts, sautéed ceps and a little Perigord truffle; for me the soup could have had more intensity, but it was nice enough (13/20).

Cod was served with piperade, a puree of Jerusalem artichokes, and some sautéed wild mushrooms and caramelized red onions. The cod was cooked fine was but very salty indeed, even to my taste (12/20). Venison haunch was served with braised red cabbage, celeriac puree and quince poached in saffron. Initially the venison that appeared was a long way from the advertised “pink” colour, but this was quickly replaced without fuss by one that was correctly cooked. The red cabbage was fine, and perhaps could have done with a little more sharpness, but the celeriac puree was fine (13/20).

Panna cotta of buttermilk was served with pink champagne granita, poached rhubarb and oat biscuit. The texture of the panna cotta was reasonable but the champagne granita had a rather odd flavor note, and the rhubarb seemed a bit too sharp (12/20). Chocolate marquise was served with poached clementines and hazelnut ice cream. The latter was fine, but the marquise itself was quite dense and had a slightly grainy texture, the clementines a logical enough accompaniment but not providing enough balance to the richness of the chocolate (12/20).

Service was friendly but a little chaotic, though the restaurant manager was good. The bill came to £37 a head at lunch. The meal was a little uneven, though the best dishes were certainly nice, and the view out into the atrium of the Royal Exchange is a very fine one if you can secure a window seat. 

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