London Foodie A-Z: F = France
For those of you paying attention, you will realise that I’ve skipped the letter E. Fear not I’ll cover that next week. Now I know the plan was to do all the countries in order, but my godson and his partner really wanted to join me on my London Foodie journey and, as it was his birthday treat, he chose to do France.
I pushed the boat out a little, as it was a special occasion, and we met for dinner at Mon Plaisir (www.monplaisir.co.uk) in Monmouth Street.
This is London’s oldest French restaurant, established in the 1940s, and still serving fine French cuisine today. When you enter you feel like you are in a Parisian restaurant – the décor is French, the menus are in French, and the staff are, well, French!
We were seated at a table in the area they call ‘Next Door’, because over the years the restaurant has extended into the property next door. There’s also the Front, the Back and the Upstairs.
Drinks were ordered, and I enjoyed a Kir Royal while we studied the extensive menu. A basket of French bread was brought and we ordered a bottle of Picpoul du Pinet, a crisp white wine from the Languedoc region. That slipped down very easily over the course of the meal, so easy that we ordered a second bottle (well, it was a celebration).
Deciding to be adventurous, and having never had them before, my starter of Cassolette d’Escargots (snails cooked in garlic, Ricard and parsley butter) arrived. Thankfully, the snails arrived without their shells – phew, no ‘Pretty Woman’ moment for me (who can forget the horror of Julia Roberts flicking a snail out of its shell and across the dining room!) My ‘slippery little suckers’ were lovely (and not slippery at all) and I mopped up the sauce with a chunk of bread.
My dining companions enjoyed their starters of Poëlée de St Jacques, et Purée de Potimaron (pan-fried scallops with butternut squash puree) and Crottin de Chavignol Chaud en Feuille de Brique, Chutney d’Oignons Rouges (warm goat’s cheese in filo pastry with red onion chutney).
For my main course, I went for a classic Poulet Façon Coq au Vin Maison, Pommes de Terre Vapeur (Coq au Vin with boiled potatoes). I have to say that the boiled potatoes sounded a little bland and a bit British to me, so I swopped them out for a side dish of Gratin Dauphinois. It arrived in a mini casserole dish, bubbling away, and looked amazing. The chicken just fell off the bone and the sauce with its baby onions was fabulous, and I’m glad I went for the Gratin Dauphinois, as the creamy potatoes complimented the dish perfectly.
The boys had ordered the same main course, and really enjoyed their perfect pink duck breast but I think they were a little envious of my hearty meal, which was too much for me, so my godson helpfully polished it off.
Our desserts arrived – well it would have been rude not to, and if there’s chocolate on the menu then I’m happy! My Fondant au Chocolat (chocolate fondant with passion fruit sorbet) just melted in the mouth and my godson loved his traditional Crème Brulee.
Mon Plaisir is not the cheapest French restaurant in town (although it does do a reasonably priced pre-theatre menu), but I felt we had good value for money and enjoyed a lovely evening with delicious traditional French food served in a relaxed atmosphere by friendly and courteous staff.
As the French say, Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup (Eat well, laugh often, love abundantly). Bon appetit!
#lifeofaguide #LondonFoodieAZ #France #MonPlaisir #CoqauVin #escargots #finedining
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