Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Wed Mar 19 2014
Founded in 1927, L’Escargot has an illustrious history, but the twenty-first century hasn’t been very kind to this landmark Soho French restaurant. Taken over by new owners in February 2014, they have yet to make wholesale improvements to rescue it from years of neglect. On our visit, the fittings looked scuffed; a huge crack in a ceiling cornice gaped above diners’ heads and the boxes of a wine delivery still blocked the entrance hall for most of the lunch service.
What has changed, though, is the chef, Oliver Lesnik, and the menu, which is retro bourgeois cooking that genuflects to the era of Escoffier. This style of old-fashioned French food owes much to the time Lesnik spent cooking at the Connaught in the days when it was all silver cloches, pâtés and gelées. Sole was turned into a mousse, then into quenelles which sat in a soupy lobster sauce, like three blind mice who’d taken a wrong turn into the stockpot. Fussy dishes aren’t always good dishes.
There is much to admire in Lesnik’s technical skills; a pissaladière (baked onion tart) was beautifully presented with glazed pastry and latticed anchovies, and a chicken liver pâté with toasted brioche was sublime. But a heavy hand was apparent in the seasoning of all our savoury dishes, and some of them, such as that lobster sauce, or the coq au vin, were richer than a Bordeaux vintner.
We were assured by a representative of the restaurant that by our visit in March 2014, it was already up to full steam; we can’t help thinking it might be worth waiting a few more months, until the new management have smoothed a few details out, such as fixing that plaster to the ceiling properly.
L'Escargot 48 Greek Street
- Venue phone:
020 7439 7474
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
noon - 4.00pm Mon-Fri; 5.00pm - midnight Mon-Sat.
Tube: Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road tube
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £110.
- 48 Greek Street
- 020 7439 7474
- 48 Greek Street