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Cellar Gascon

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© Ming Tang Evans
Smithfield
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The Cellar inhabits a sliver of a corner site in the shadow of the more substantial Club Gascon, and these days it appears to occupy a similar position in the Gascon hierarchy. The place feels untended, its brown decor and uncomfortable high bucket-chair and bench seating in need of updating. It lacks direction too; we’ve been well served by keen young staff, but haven’t noticed a manager.

The food is in Gascon’s small-plate style (which works well with wine), comprising of much charcuterie and other shareable nibbles, including foie gras. It’s rich, but, though regional, not terribly interesting or demanding of the kitchen – apart from the dish of the day, which features in the £9.50 set lunch (along with a glass of wine and a coffee); this might be bouillabaisse or, as on our last visit, some very good slow-cooked pork on mash.

The Cellar still has a noteworthy wine list that ranges expertly around south-west France’s styles and regions, including some interesting aperitifs. However, wine aficionados seem to have moved on (or perhaps they now come just for the occasional tasting evenings), leaving the place largely to tourists and trysters – and not too many of those.

Venue name: Cellar Gascon
Contact:
Address: 59 West Smithfield
London
EC1A 9DS
Opening hours: Open noon-midnight, tapas served noon-2.30pm, 6-11pm Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Barbican tube or Farringdon tube/rail
Price: Tapas £4.50-£7.50. Set lunch £9.50 1 course, glass of wine and coffee, £12.50 2 courses, glass of wine and coffee. House wine from £19.50 bottle, from £2.75 glass
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