Les Gourmets des Ternes
A Parisian friend had heard that Les Gourmets des Terne, a restaurant in Paris, had opened a couple of branches in London and said we should try it. She said it was something of an institution in Paris, noted for its traditional 1960’s style cooking and dishes.
The original Les Gourmets des Terne was founded in Paris in 1962 by Francis Marie. Today it is owned by his son Jean-Francois, and it is his son the very charming Maximilien who has brought a little bit of Paris to London with two restaurants – one in Maida Vale and the other in Knightsbridge; as Knightsbridge is more accessible for us we opted for that one.
The restaurant is at 9 Knightsbridge, in the little walkway that links Knightsbridge to Raphael St and the Brompton Rd.
It’s easy to miss if you are not paying attention, as we discovered. However we persevered.
In many respects, the Knightsbridge Les G des T is following in similar footsteps. Good old classics like lentil salad, eggs mayonnaise, escargot oozing garlic butter appear on the menu as starters.
Mains include the likes of little lamb cutlets, steak and frites, or my excellent sea bass.
My friend had said that one of the restaurant’s signature dishes is Baba au Rhum, nevertheless my eye was taken by a Tarte Tatin.
It bore no resemblance to the Tarte Tatin that I had first sampled in the kitchen of the Loire restaurant where it was invented, but nevertheless it was very good.
The décor in the long, narrow room has a traditional French feel to it, and I liked the quirky idea of a tablecloth depicting signatures of diners from the original Paris restaurant.
Even on early lunch time service a number of French voices could be heard round us, it is obviously going to be a popular venue for French business people and expats.
Service was utterly charming, and even though it was not strictly her job Anne-Lisse willing went upstairs to the bar to make us the very good cocktail we had requested.
After our meal we too went upstairs to have a look at the bar and were promptly enchanted by its atmosphere and eclectic mix of furnishings.
The little outside seating area accessed by climbing through one of the windows made us smile – ladies would be advised to wear trousers! We agreed that if we lived locally the upstairs bar could easily become one of our favourite after-work drinking haunts.
Three courses and wine could work out rather on the pricey side with starters and desserts both coming in at about £6 and £7 and mains in the region of about £20 – £30, allow £50pp. www.lesgourmetsrestaurants.com