L’Escargot, the French restaurant in London, has garnered a reputation as an iconic institution in Soho. Established as the oldest French restaurant in London, L’Escargot has managed to keep up-to-date, deftly navigating the changing culinary landscape of London while preserving its heritage. The restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff, good food, and reasonably priced wines. Despite the informal setting, there is no compromise on quality.
The restaurant does not enforce any formal dress code, albeit discouraging nudity. It has been frequented by many celebrities over the years, including Coco Chanel, Nigel Havers, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Kate Moss, Judy Dench, and the late Princess Diana. L’Escargot has gained particular prominence as a pre- and post-theatre dining destination. The restaurant offers theatre and dinner packages, in addition to the standard dining menu. The casual nature of the restaurant is exemplified by the option of stopping by for a single course and a cocktail or glass of wine. Inclusive policies extend to pets, with dogs being welcome, and accommodations for guests with allergies.
Ambience and Decor
The restaurant occupies a space that has been a restaurant since the 18th century. The decor is classic French, with oak-panelled walls, banquette seating, and antique mirrors. The plush, deep red upholstery of the banquettes and chairs accentuates the opulent atmosphere. The chandeliers, dim lighting, and soft music provide a calming backdrop for a luxurious dining experience. The decor, however, does not overwhelm the restaurant’s main attraction – the food.
Food and Drink
L’Escargot boasts an extensive menu of traditional French cuisine, including the restaurant’s namesake dish, escargot. The menu features dishes such as foie gras, bouillabaisse, duck confit, steak tartare, and tarte tatin. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, high-quality ingredients and presenting them with finesse. The wine list is predominantly French, with a focus on small producers and organic and biodynamic wines. The restaurant also offers a curated selection of cocktails and other drinks.
In conclusion, L’Escargot stands as a testament to the longevity of French cuisine and culture in London. The restaurant has evolved with the times, but it has not compromised on its essence. The casual yet refined atmosphere, exceptional food and drink, and inclusive policies ensure a memorable dining experience. The classic French decor transports guests to a bygone era while remaining relevant in contemporary London. The restaurant’s continued success and popularity are a testament to its quality, consistency, and unwavering commitment to tradition.