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la poule au pot

This beautiful little French restaurant is nestled within the heart of Belgravia next to the old square in Ebury. It is easy to walk by La Poule au Pot especially in the winter at it is dark inside and has little promotion (it really doesn’t need it). In the summer however they have seats on the path way where people enjoy long afternoons of wine, cheese and friends (that is the life, no?).

We walked into this small quaint restaurant and were greeted immediately by the waiter at a small wooden desk, he spoke French and we managed to get by (clearly he spoke English but it was clear it did not come naturally to him). All the waiters for that matter were French and would speak French to you whilst I (true ignorant Brit) would answer in English and point to things; I really didn’t meant to be rude but I have never studied French and to tell the truth even if I did I doubt I would be able to say much as my linguistic skills are lacking to say the least.

Anyway this place is on one floor and darkly lit with candles and a few old fashioned dim lights dotted around. There were a few couples there but the place cannot hold huge numbers which adds to the intimacy of the place. We were taken into the small back room which had room for two possibly three couples at a squeeze and overlooked the gardens. There were plenty of French ornaments and collectables dotted around the place to keep you fascinated all night.

We ordered the house wine; now please don’t turn your nose up, the reason for this is that they serve you the most incredible deep red wine that is served in a magnum bottle. You pay for how much you drink and they chalk off where you have finished. Very traditional and very dangerous (we finished the magnum, needless to say). While we were ordering we were served with large hunks of bread and a small bowl of raw vegetables such as radishes, peppers and carrots that was served in a creamy salad dressing.

The menu was in French so unsurprisingly I had to point and ask what a couple of the things were (though I had done a little research in the afternoon so I didn’t look like a complete idiot). The waiter did explain the word in English but then resolutely carried on in French. I like this about the place as they really felt comfortable speaking in French and clearly the clientele, unlike me, could entertain their wishes slightly more than what we could. Anyway after a shaky start I ordered the La Paupiette de saumon fumé farcie au crabe (thank god for copy and paste) and my friend ordered the La Quiche au fromage. When my friend ordered the cheese quiche I was a little surprised as that sounded somewhat simple and um, well bland. However when it came out it was a thick slice of quiche that almost looked like a New York cheesecake. It was warm and smelt divine; it was just the most magnificent thing I had tasted in a while. I Hate to admit but good choice! Saying that my choice of a salmon roll filled with crab meat was hardly plain. The roulade was huge, the size of a small drain and bursting with juicy crab meat. The salmon held the whole package together and was just a delight to the senses. I have not seen such a large and luxurious starter in a long time.

For main course I ordered Le Lapin à la moutarde (rabbit with mustard) and my friend ordered La Poule au Pot (the chicken in the pot). The rabbit came out in a steaming ceramic pout with a tiny brass sauce pan with additional mustard sauce. It was juicy and tender although had a few bones and I would have liked a stronger mustard kick, but on the whole absolutely delicious. The chicken in the pot, which the restaurant took its name, was anything but simple. The chicken was in a herby and mustard sauce that truly had a kick. For the second time that night I had really food envy.

For dessert I ordered the crème brulée, this came out slightly shallower than I had hoped but after I tasted it I realised why. It was incredibly rich and full of flavour and if there was any more of it would have been sickly. The caramelised top had a real crack, and as you know reader, you can tell a good crème brulée by it crack! My friend ordered the stereotypical tarte tatin, which was anything but run of the mill. Again it was incredibly rich and deeply caramelised. This was true French cooking at its best.

We walked out of this place full, quite tipsy and very satisfied. This place is one of the best French restaurants I have been to in London, the food is simple, traditional and not in the slightest bit pretentious. Basically it lets the food speak for itself and although the price is not market price you really do get what you pay for and not a single ingredient less.  Unsurprisingly we give La Poule au Pot:

            Food                       Atmosphere                       Service

4 Stars4 Stars3 Stars  

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