Les Deux Salons, Covent Garden

  • DATE #5
  • Written by Kitty Wakeful (Guest Author)
  • 6 years ago
les deux salons covent garden
Forget Balthazar, take it down a notch

The Vibe

Much has been made of the opening of Balthazar this month. It is no place for a first date. To remain celibate for the length of time required to reserve a table would strain the sinews of even the most monkish amongst you. As both Giles Coren and A. A. Gill commented, it boasts the setting of kings (or at least minor royalty), abuzz with A-listers but offset by the food of Café RougeLes Deux Salons, conversely, offers food fit for a king set against one or two atmospheric notes of everyone’s favourite French fall-back. If you’re a civil servant – jackpot – it’s one of the only edible places in the culinary wasteland that is Whitehall. It’s a varied clientele of a Thursday night – all-male tables of City workers, all-female birthday parties, couples and grown-up families. The ‘deux salons’ comprise a large ground-floor room, warmly lit by large, exposed spherical bulbs, and an upstairs that is closer to the loos but less occupied by elderly patrons who perhaps can’t make it that far. As my terminally articulate plus one put it, ‘It’s a relaxed yet sophisticated yet easy going vibe, don’t you think?’

The Order

Salmon rillettes – a potted mixture of smoked and baked salmon served in a glass jar next to toast (£7.95); steak tartare with a big egg yolk on it and lots of capers (£9.95); and snail pie – an unlikely meeting of France and the North of England. All were perfectly pitched and gobbled within minutes. Though saturated, you must push onto the rare rib of beef for two (£26 each). It’s well worth the 48 chews per swallow. If you’ve got somewhere to be at 7.30, the pre-theatre menu will limit your options but will feed you for £10 a head.

The Game

Keep Les Deux Salons up your sleeve should a drinks date in neighbouring Soho or St Martin’s Lane go unexpectedly well and you find yourself in search of food without a reservation, unwilling to queue or hit Chez Gerard. Note, a café-cum-wine bar round the corner with a sideline in jazz and French films offers the perfect prelude to assess whether you’re willing to break bread together. If it transpires you are, Les Deux Salons is just 30 seconds away.

The Faults

Unlike its sister restaurants Wild Honey and Arbutus, there is little that is young or trendy about the restaurant. Its size provides anonymity that may be welcome.

Sex Factor

3. With a corner table, the Perrier-Jouët, and the snail pie, if you’re not too full to move you’ll be slumped in each other’s arms by 10pm.


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