Here at Hero & Leander we’re particularly partial to dining at a fine French establishment. With the continued French restaurant scene growing and casting their influence in the UK’s capital, London has some real gems to take your fancy. We’ve selected our favourites and it was certainly not easy creating the shortlist. So, without further ado and in no particular order for they are all too good to select one clear favourite, let’s begin….
Sketch – The Lecture Room & Library
Sketch is a gem in London’s dining scene. Continually pushing the boundaries of both design and culinary exercise, it is a destination in its own right and one must book a visit to experience what all the talk is about.
“The triple dream of launching a centre, a “lieu” or destination place, for food, art and music has been realised by Mourad “Momo” Mazouz and his team of chefs and designers over two expansive floors of a converted 18th century building in Conduit Street, Mayfair, London“.
The Lecture Room & Library plays host to Sketch’s two Michelin starred restaurant overseen by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire with the interior design created by Gabhan O’Keeffe. If this decor and cuisine is not enough for you, take comfort knowing that the wine list was awarded the ‘Best UK Wine List’ in the AA Guide. However, when you have dishes such as Guinea Fowl or Langoustine on the menu, we’re sure that all aspects of this venue will blow you away.
9 Conduit Street
London, W1S 2XG
Having dined here for lunch we can confidently say that this place has a very classic French atmosphere that is not easily forgotten. In a fantastic location in Covent Garden, Le Garrick has a reasonably discreet frontage save for a few tables and chairs protruding on to the pavement. These are perfect to sit with a glass of wine and watch the world go by as the French do best. The restaurant has been here over 30 years and as such has become an iconic dining establishment in this neighbourhood and amongst the pre-dinner theatre goers.
Step in through the front door and you will discover a restaurant that is classic in charm. The wood throughout and the low level lighting ensures a warm and homely feel to the intimate space. We visited at lunch and had a table down in the lower ground level. Descending the stairs you are met with a thin corridor where tables are placed off in the alcoves. Le Garrick affords you the sense that you are walking in to a place that you have been visiting for your entire life and the staff maintain this illusion.
The food is really the main star of Le Garrick, with dishes that must be tried such as the Cassette de calmer à la plancha au pigment d’espelette – a pan seared calamari dish in a Basque style with chilli and garlic. Or perhaps the Confit de Canard a personal favourite of ours. Honey glazed duck… yes please.
All in all, Magnifique!
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10 – 12 Garrick Street
Covent Garden, London
Continually making appearances in Romantic dining lists, Clos Maggiore is no doubt a fantastically appropriate destination for those wishing to impress on a date. The beautiful courtyard that is adorned with florals and a retractable ceiling feels truly as though you have stepped into a romantic wonderland. London in love. Read our in-depth review of Clos Maggiore here.
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33 King Street
Covent Garden, London
The Michelin starred chef Michael Roux Jr has been running Le Gavroche since 1991 and it is an incredibly successful restaurant having won countless awards – namely the first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two and three Michelin stars. The writer A.A. Gill was quoted as saying,
“If I had to pick a meal as being particularly enjoyable last year, I’d have to greedily choose two: both of them lunch at Le Gavroche“.
You won’t be at all disappointed by the food and the décor embodies classic romanticism.
43 Upper Brook Street
London, W1K 7QR
T: 020 7408 0881
Medlar is a wonderful restaurant over in Chelsea established by Joe Mercer Nairn and David O’Connor. These two have put together their experience from brilliant establishments such as The Savoy Grill, Chez Bruce, The Square and The Ledbury to create Medlar. The menus are really well curated. They’re succinct yet accomplished with dishes such as saddle of rabbit with potato and confit leg terrine or perhaps roast monkfish with sauce vierge. It should be said that Medlar is not wholly French either. The cuisine brings together a real mixing pot of seasonal ingredients from not only France but Europe as a whole and the British Isles. This ensures that each dish has a great success bringing complimentary ingredients together. Medlar really is all about the food.
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438 Kings Road,
London, SW10 0LJ
T: 020 7349 1900
La Poule au Pot
This is a fine restaurant in Belgravia, an area that holds a distinctly village feel to it. La Poule au Pot is something of a household name in these parts and rightly so. It certainly captured our hearts. The décor is classic French with its busy walls and eclectic bric-a-brac nature, certainly setting the scene for a romantic evening. In the summer months there is seating outside to while away the hours and watch the world go by. The menu is also what you would expect from a classic French restaurant, so Bon Appétit.
La Poule Au Pot
231 Ebury Street,
London, SW1W 8UT
T: 020 7730 7763