This restaurant colossus offers unapologetically old-school fine dining. First opened in Chelsea in 1967 by the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, it’s now run by Michel Roux Jr who took the reins in 1991. Le Gavroche continues to be the go-to haute cuisine establishment for a dignified, extremely wealthy crowd (our reservation took three months to secure). While it may bear the name of the street urchin from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, there’s nothing scruffy about the club-like decor.
Naturally, prices are high, although the set lunch for £52.60 (including half of a bottle of wine) is great value. Our eight-course ‘menu exceptionnel’ started with soufflé suissesse, an exquisitely light and fluffy gruyère soufflé cooked on double cream: an old recipe from the original restaurant. Next, the sourness of an aigre-doux vinaigrette sidelined a salad of braised octopus and soft-shell crab, but happiness was soon restored by a boudin noir served with a runny scotch egg and wicked piece of pork crackling. Roast squab arrived with the perfect degree of rareness, along with braised peas and a jus of haunting intensity. Millefeuille of raspberries and gianduja made a pleasurable finale.
The food is matched by an imperious wine list, with 50 wines offered by the glass. Service was gracious throughout our stay, helping us enjoy the prosperous buzz of the place even more.