Les Trois Garçons Shoreditch
1 Club Row, Shoreditch, E1 6JX
020 7613 1924/www.lestroisgarcons.com
I’m not someone who uses Groupon vouchers. The thought of indoor kayaking whilst having my chest hairs depilated has never really appealed. But one of my regular lunch partners Fiona from London Unattached was asked by Groupon to review their service and she chose the restaurant Les Trois Garçons for that task.
I had been to the restaurant not long after it had opened in 2000 for a private event but only had a faint memory of the place, so I was keen to return. I had been struck by its quirky interior-stuffed tigers and hanging handbags displayed in a reconditioned Victorian pub-more than its food. Of course back at the turn of the century the trendification of Shoreditch had hardly begun and the Old Blue Last Pub wasn’t a venue for rock n roll wannabes but a proper East End boozer with bands on the weekend.
The Groupon deal was £60 for two for a six course tasting menu marked down 50% from the regular £120. The manager explained to us that he didn’t like to run Groupon all the time and that when he did it was just to fill the restaurant early on in the evening to create some atmosphere.
I started with the White asparagus salad dressed with apple, Mousseline of white asparagus and tarragon tuile. This was a well composed dish. The mousseline had a really delicate flavour and was complemented by the crunch of the tarragon tuile, the sweetness of the white asparagus and the acid crunch of the apple.
Fiona chose Foie Gras cured in Sauternes and cooked au torchon with brioche. The Foie Gras was very smooth and delicious with her accompanying glass Sauternes.
As I was driving I stuck to a zingy glass of Marlborough 2011 Eradus Sauvignon Blanc with
a grapefruit and lemon nose and peach and melon notes.
Seared Scottish Scallops with a gratin of Jerusalem artichokes and chestnuts. Kumquat chutney and roe crackers-
The scallops were perfectly cooked, seared on the outside but still soft but oversalted. The artichoke and chestnut gratin was warm and comforting. I’m slightly obsessive about chestnuts and this worked for me
This was another strong dish. The monkfish was surprisingly tender and the broad beans and radish gave textural variety with the ensemble perfumed by the lemon verbena.
My next course was from the vegetarian menu and was bland and not particularly interesting. Cannelloni of pumpkin, goat’s curd and pine nuts, with Swiss chard and roasted tomato sauce.
Fiona’s last savoury course was Spice cured venison fillet served with braised venison Won Tons, Savoy Cabbage, potato rosti, beetroot purée and Szechuan pepper jus. The meat was really good quality and not overdone with the pepper giving it a bit of bite.
Frozen coconut nougat with passion fruit coulis was a fun way to finish. Coconut and passion fruit-what’s not to like?
Then the bill arrived. Service had been charged not on what Fiona had already paid to Groupon, but on what the service would have costed if the full charge had been implemented jacking it up considerably. So if you buy through Groupon and are on a budget, read the small print!
Les Trois Garçons has worn pretty well and is a fun space to eat in. The level of the food is consistently good without ever reaching any great heights. The Groupon deal is good value if you choose it but make sure you know what you will end up paying.
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