Lescargot 178 (Small)

 

L’Escargot French Restaurant has been in Greek Street, Soho, since 1927.

When it first opened, its surroundings would have been very different to what they are now!

Soho! was possibly a hunting cry as the area was parkland, used by the Aristocracy for  hunting.

Wikipedia says;

Despite the best intentions of landowners such as the Earls of Leicester and Portland to develop the land on the grand scale of neighbouring Bloomsbury, Marylebone and Mayfair, Soho never became a fashionable area for the rich. Immigrants settled in the area, especially French Huguenots who poured in from 1688, after which the area became known as London’s French quarter.[7] The French church in Soho Square was founded by Huguenots in the 17th century. By the mid-18th century, the aristocrats who had been living in Soho Square or Gerrard Street had moved away. Soho’s character stems partly from the ensuing neglect by rich and fashionable London, and the lack of redevelopment that characterised the neighbouring areas.

By the mid-19th century, all respectable families had moved away, and prostitutes, music halls and small theatres had moved in. In the early 20th century, foreign nationals opened cheap eating-houses, and the neighbourhood became a fashionable place to eat for intellectuals, writers and artists. From the 1930s to the early 1960s, Soho folklore states that the pubs of Soho were packed every night with drunken writers, poets and artists, many of whom never stayed sober long enough to become successful; and it was also during this period that the Soho pub landlords established themselves.

Now Soho, based in the City of Westminster, is a trendy area in the heart of Theatreland, throbbing with shops, restaurants, and crowds of people, both tourists and regular visitors.

L’Escargot is easy to find. It’s a huge building, divided up into different rooms.

I went up one staircase to visit the loo, passing rooms branching off in different directions, up and down a couple of steps, with loud laughter and talking filtering out. Then I went downstairs down another staircase without realising it!

Goodness knows what the value of the building is. It’s worth millions!

We queued up in the reception area, where our coats were taken and hung up in the wardrobe. Then we were shown to our reserved table by the window.

The room has a Dickensian feel about it. The fireplace is original and there’s a chandelier in the centre of the room, with very dim lightbulbs in it.

We couldn’t see the menu, even with our glasses on, so the waiter brought us a candle.

Obviously one of the starters is the snails.

For those of you who may have recently landed here from Planet Zog, L’Escargot is French for Snail.

Although I can eat most things,  I just don’t like snails. They remind me of, well, snails! I’ve tried them a couple of times but, no, they’re not for me. But my friend happily tucked into a plate of 12 of them, extracting them from their shells with a gadget that looked like eyelash curlers.

I chose the French Onion Soup. I imagined that it would taste delicious in one of the UK’s top French restaurants. And yes, it did!

It had a gorgeous, rich caramelised flavour and it was chock-a-block with onions, with a slice of bread floating on the top.

Like a fool, I ate the lot, although I knew that I shouldn’t as it was so rich and filling. But I just couldn’t stop!

Next, my friend had the Rump Steak with marrow bone and a red wine and shallots sauce.

I chose the Plat du Jour, which was Roast Gressingham Goose.

We were undecided about what to order, and would both have been happy to have swapped choices.Lescargot 179 (Small)

The vegetables were served in individual dishes with lids on. They were lovely and hot, but difficult to lift up and pass to each other.

I had a huge plateful of the goose. But unfortunately I’d overdone it with the onion soup, so I could hardly do it justice!

If only I’d known what a terrible journey home I was going to have, thanks to ‘engineering works on the railway’ I’d have asked for a doggy bag!

After allowing our stomachs time to recover, my friend had a Crème Brulee, which he said was perfect, with a crunchy top and a creamy filling.

I chose a Melon Sorbet, which was refreshing for my poor, overstuffed insides, and slid down into the gaps well .

My verdict? L’Escargot is very well-established and works like clockwork.

The staff are friendly, polite and professional, and the food is traditional without being fussy.

The prices aren’t cheap, but I shiver to think of the overheads where they’re based before they even start to cook anything!

Yes, I’d recommend it to my friends if they’re on a day trip to London. It’s ‘real’ food and the flavours are excellent. And there’s no way they’ll be hungry after their meal!

L’Escargot is at 48 Greek Street,

London W1D 4EF.

Phone 020 4739 7474

Open Monday-Friday, 11am-midnight.

Sunday brunch 11am-6pm.

 

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.