Name: Les 110 de Taillevent
Where: 16 Cavendish Square, London W1G 9DD, http://www.les-110-taillevent-london.com/
Cost: Average cost for a 3-course meal is around £40 per person (not including drinks or service). There is a set menu of 2 courses for £20 or 3 courses for £25, available both at lunch and at dinner. Each dish on the menu is colour-coded to match with suggested wines available by the glass at price points from £8, £14, £20 or above £20. From the à la carte menu, starters cost from £8 to £14, main courses from £8 to £35, and desserts from £7 to £11.
About: Les 110 de Taillevent London is a classic French brasserie which brings the cooking championed by other restaurants in the group, the most well-known of which is the two-Michelin starred Le Taillevent, along with Les Caves de Taillevent and the similarly named Les 110 de Taillevent in Paris.
But what makes Les 110 de Taillevent unique is its wine offering - no fewer than 110 wines by the glass or half glass. The menu has been designed to facilitate ease of choice, with four different wine suggestions in four different price categories listed for each dish.
Les 110 de Taillevent, situated in a listed building on Cavendish Square, is a beautifully designed restaurant, with an elegant colour palate of sage green, cream leather and polished wood. It is an stylish place to enjoy some fine French cooking and wines after a day’s shopping on Oxford Street (it faces the back of John Lewis).
What We Ate and Drank: Our dinner started with a deceptively simple dish of truffled scrambled eggs. Heady with the aroma of fresh truffle, the dish had complex vegetal farmyard notes and was, I think, the finest scrambled eggs I have ever eaten. We got off to a very good start.
We were helped to make our choices by the logically presented food and wine pairings, and by the guidance of Head Sommelier Christophe Lecoufle. We kicked off with a welcome glass of Champagne Laurent Perrier Brut NV.
With the scrambled egg, we had a Chardonnay, from IGP Cotes du Lot, 'Montaigne' 2014, Domaine Belmont (£14 per 125ml glass), which had a lovely fresh, smoky, elegant quality, with green apple and mineral on the finish.
Next came John Dory mousseline, glazed in lobster bisque under a salamander, served with romaine salad and Espelette pepper. This was nothing short of sublime.
The Cornish Point Pinot Noir 2014, from Felton Road, New Zealand, came with the John Dory. Partnering white fish with red wine is perhaps unusual, but the red was delicate enough not to overwhelm the fish and its delectable lobster bisque. An Alsatian Reisling or Pinot Gris might have been a more traditional dish choice, but I really enjoyed the Pinot Noir.
The truffled veal rump (£35) was for me the highlight of the evening. Stuffed with truffle and with extra slices of fresh truffle on top, it was served with a classic béchamel sauce, artichoke puree, and stuffed, deep-fried baby artichoke, this was a delectable dish of great refinement.
With the veal, we had a glass of Pomerol 2009, Fugue de Nenin (£19). The second wine of Chateau Nenin, this Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend had intense blackberry fruit, a nose of blackcurrant, cherries, cedar and vanilla, with complex fruit flavours, plenty of tannins and a long, complex finish.
For dessert, we had the calamansi lemon, with passion fruit, meringue, shortbread, tequila and lime sorbet, sprinkled with passionfruit flowers. Beautifully presented and intensely tart and refreshing, this featured the lovely Filipino calamansi fruit - one of my favourites, and thought to be a hybrid of the mandarin orange and kumquat. This was a delicious, complex dessert, and a tribute to the skill of the patissiere.
The chocolate dome was also excellent - truffled chocolate mascarpone cream made with Valrona chocolate was paired with a sorbet of chocolate, salted caramel sauce and fresh truffle. It was stunning to the eye, while on the palate the sorbet was intensely rich and concentrated, with a contrast in texture from a chocolate tuille brittle.
To accompany our desserts, we had a Loire Valley Coteaux de L'Aubance, Les Trois Schistes, 2014, from Domain de Montgilet (£6 for 70ml). With acidity, minerality and sweetness in equal measure, this was a deliciously complex dessert wine.
Likes: The truffled scrambled egg, the truffled veal rump and the desserts were spectacularly good. The menu partnering each dish with matched wines by the glass to suit a range of budgets is both innovative and well considered.
Dislikes: the name, I can't pronounce it!
Verdict: With fine French cooking and a vast selection of wines by the glass at 4 different price points, Les 110 de Taillevent is my top restaurant recommendation this month! Highly recommended.