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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Le Garrick - Unbeatable Pre- and Post-Theatre Menu Deals in Covent Garden

Name: Le Garrick 

Where: 10-12 Garrick Street, London WC2E 9BH, http://www.legarrick.co.uk

Cost: The average price of a three-course dinner is around £30 not including drinks or service. Starters from the a la carte menu cost from £5.50 to £9.50, main courses range from £11.95 to £24.95, side dishes are £4.00 to £4.50, and desserts are £6.50. There is a cheese board of three French cheeses with baguette, priced at £10. The restaurant offers a pre- and post-theatre menu available from noon until 6.30pm and after 10.00pm, at £13.50 for 2 courses or £16.45 for 3.  

About: Le Garrick is a French bistro-restaurant which is celebrating its 30th year of existence in Covent Garden. An independent, family-run business by restauraters Dominika and Charles Lepelletier, it is situated opposite the Garrick Club, and over the road from hip Peruvian restaurant Lima Floral.

The ground floor level has a few window tables, while the main restaurant is situated in the basement, an atmospheric candle-lit spot. I personally prefer the airier and brighter ground floor level

Ground Level

Ground Level
The offering from head chef Rocco Ahoune is unmistakably French, with a small menu of classic dishes like moules mariniere, Burgundian snails, steak frites and confit de canard.

Basement Level

Basement Level
What We Ate: From the specials menu, we started with the cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs £7). Pan-fried and served with chopped onions, red pepper, ginger, lemongrass and coriander, these were zingy and delicious.

From the regular menu, we chose the cassolette de calamars a la plancha au piment d'Espelette (grilled squid rings with Espelette pepper £7.50). Served in a rich, peppery and garlicky sauce, these were also good and well seasoned.

The escargots de Bourgogne (snails Burgundy-style £8.25), though tiny, they were deliciously tender, served with a maitre-d'hote butter with garlic and parsley.

For main course, the Entrecote grillee (£24.95) featured a 14 oz (400g) chargrilled 28-day aged rib-eye steak on the bone. The steak was cooked medium rare as requested, it was soft and tender, but it lacked caramelisation and depth of flavour.

The steak was not helped by its accompanying Béarnaise sauce, which sadly was not freshly made. It was disappointing to be served ready-made Bearnaise out of a bottle. Similarly the chips were dry and tasteless like they had been cooked from frozen - I'm happy to have these at home as a quick side in a rushed mid-week meal, but in a restaurant I expect chips to be hand cut and freshly made.   

The daily special main course was a whole grilled plaice (carrelet entier - £18.95), served with chopped black olives and a balsamic glaze, with boiled potatoes glazed in butter.  This was an uninspiring dish, pleasant enough to eat but a tad dry.

Side orders were the lovely petit pois Grand-Mere (£4.50), made with peas, bacon and whole baby-onions, and the haricots verts or green bean (£4.00), simply tossed in butter, with hints of fresh mint, salt and pepper.

We finished with a fondue to share (£13.50). Made with a whole cheese from Fromager des Clarines, Jean Perrin, from Franche-Comte, this was actually not a Vacherin as described on the menu but still pretty decent and a very adequate cheese course.

To finish, the crème brulee was a simple but classic dish, well made and flavoured with vanilla seeds (£6.50).

What We Drank: The wine list is exclusively French, with a good range of wines and Champagnes by the glass. The entry level wines, both priced at £19.50 per bottle, are the white wine from Pays de Cote de Gascogne at £19.50, and the red is a Pays de Vaucluse.

A glass of Viognier 2016, from Domain de Vedilhan, Pays d'Oc (£4.65) was rich, off-dry, buttery and soft.  

The Clos du Colombier 2014, a Cahors Malbec (£5.70 per glass) was well balanced and rich in berry fruit. The Roncier Rouge, a Pinot Noir - Gamay blend from Burgundy (£4.50), was light with very little tannin, and was a good match for the grilled fish. 

With the cheese, we had a glass of Bordeaux AOC Chateau Grimard 2015 (£5.40 per glass) - with a good weight of red and black berry fruit, soft tannins and satisfying length, this has enough richness to stand up to the rich creamy cheese. 

Likes: a classic French menu with good starters but disappointing mains. Excellent pricing for pre- or post theatre menus. We loved the whole cheese fondue.

Dislikes: Both our mains were disappointing and the fact that they serve bottled Bearnaise and frozen chips is not great. I found the basement dining room a little oppressive. I recommend reserving one of the 5 tables on the ground floor.

Verdict: At £16.45 for a 3-course pre- or post-theatre menu, few Central London restaurants can beat Le Garrick on price. Good selection of starters, great cheese fondue, and a range of French wines by the glass warrant a return visit!

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