Elena's L'Étoile

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Signed photos from many of Britain’s best-loved actors line the walls at l’Etoile, forming a great sea of thespian endorsement that fills every available space. The restaurant itself has been around for over a century, and its aesthetic is firmly of the old school; etched glass, red banquettes and starched linen remain the order of the day.

The food is resolutely classic too: a ham hock terrine starter with apple chutney and sauce vierge is straight from the Left Bank; and a delicate double-baked mushroom soufflé is a well-judged French staple, served with a cool twist of chive crème fraîche. Main courses satisfied without enthralling. A light, fresh salmon and leek fish cake arrived with mushy peas and an endive salad, and corn-fed chicken accompanied by a mini kiev and red wine sauce was hearty yet undistinguished.

There’s more imagination at work in the desserts. A light lemon tart came intriguingly topped with popping candy, and a hefty portion of rice pudding was decked with great shavings of caramelised pineapple. Elena’s faded grandeur and traditional dishes are part of its charm: this is a place for a nostalgic feed rather than an inspiring one.

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Elena's L'Étoile says
Something of a Soho institution, The Gay Hussar packs a lot of character within its caricature-lined wood-panelled walls. Low lighting and plush furnishing add to the intimacy of the atmosphere, but it's the traditional Hungarian cuisine that really commands attention. Together with its extensive Magyar wine list, it leaves little doubt as to why the restaurant has been a popular haunt for over 50 years with some of the world's biggest political figures and celebrities alike.
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Venue name: Elena's L'Étoile
Address: 30 Charlotte Street
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.30pm Mon-Fri. Dinner served 5-10.30pm Mon-Sat
Transport: Tube: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road tube
Price: Main courses £15.75-£20.25. Set meal £20.95 2 courses, £25.95 3 courses
1 person listening

Had a lovely night out with friends. Great menu and wine list. Friendly service and good food.