Thursday, 3 September 2015

Le Deux Salons

This is my thousandth published post. I can't help but think that with a bit of planning I could have published my thousandth post the other week on my eighth blogoversary. That would have been good. But that kind of strategy isn't really how I roll...

When I last went to Le Deux Salons, in 2011, I was a bit concerned that I was the last person to go and everyone else had moved on. Well, it wasn't as bad as that, but rumour has it that by the time it was sold to Prescott & Conran last year it was looking a bit wilted.
Reserve de Gassac Rosé
Then, suddenly, a couple of months ago I started to be bombarded by emails from Le Deux Salons and the other Prescott & Conran properties. I have to say things must have got pretty dire if my details from one lunchtime meal deal all those years ago were considered part of the goodwill of the business. I was on the point of getting really annoyed when one email caught my attention - a "Best of the French Riviera" menu, of a starter, bouillabaise, dessert and a half bottle of Rosé for £32. Not quite the three courses for £15.50 of my last visit but it still sounded like good value. And fortunately my lunch partner of the last visit was on her long school holidays, so we made a date for a holiday treat.
Crudités, fromage blanc
I don't remember an enormous amount about the décor from the last visit, but it's now looking just how you want a French restaurant to look. We were seated upstairs in the more formal restauranty bit where the tables are capacious and the tablecloths are crisply white. Lovely. Jude had the crudités with a herbed fromage blanc dip, which looked incredibly pretty. I had a platter of lovely jambon Noir de Bigorre, which I think is the French equivalent of Spanish pata negra. It was simply and generously served with some little cornichons. I do think the Spanish version, with the acorn sweetness of the fat is slightly better though.
Jambon Noir de Bigorre
I wasn't sure what to expect from the bouillabaisse. Most articles I've read about it make it sound quite rustic - Elizabeth David includes an account of an enormous cauldron boiling on a wood fire on the beach, full of a broth yellow from saffron and all the fish they could catch. What we got was not that. But was refined and delicious.
Three types of fish, fennel and potato
I do love a dish in multiple parts, so the sight of waiters coming towards us with many different dishes was very pleasing. We each got a copper dish with three types of fish (red mullet was one, not sure of the others), fennel and potato, a plate of toasted bread slices with a pot of aioli (I don't think it was red, spicy or saffrony enough to be the traditional rouille) and grated parmesan. The waiter then ladelled a couple of dainty spoonfuls of rich seafood broth over the fish and left each of us with a little tureen of the remaining broth.
Bread, aioli and parmesan
We ate the succulent, delicate fish with a little more of the broth, then I made a big delicious mess with the rest of the broth, thickening and seasoning it with the aioli and dunking in the toasted bread. Just wonderful. The white tshirt I was wearing was very much an error.
The waiter ladled on broth
For dessert we both had Brillat-Savarin cheesecake. The cheesecake I had back in 2011 was one of the finest I've ever had, and this was equally as good. The raspberries on the side weren't the best-flavoured fruit I've ever had, but they were just right to punctuate the rich, smooth cheese. All in all, it was an excellent lunch and I think well worth going back for. And it's very conveniently located right near Charing Cross station, so I might have to drag Paul in for a date night some time.


The Cat's Mother said...

One day I hope to have an Elizabeth David style bouillabaisse. The versions here, even in French restaurants, are deconstructed broth with a few pieces of fish and maybe a single mussel.

Amy said...

1000 posts?! Wow, that's quite an accomplishment.

Faux Fuchsia said...

it looks wonderful! I wish I was there now. Well done re 8 years and 1000 posts xxx

Kavey said...

Thank you so much for pinging me the link, out sounds very nice, a good option!!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Mother - yes, it's all become very refined!

Amy - thank you! It snuck up on me.

FF - so delicious. Come back to the UK! Let's have lunch in my town!

Kavey - most welcome! It's a good spot.


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