This jewel box of a restaurant entices the beau monde of Kensington with its Franco-Japanese cooking, impressive wine list and plush decor – all gleaming mirrors, dainty cutlery and sparkling wine glasses. The likes of maki rolls and sashimi, or caviar and foie gras, are equally at home on exec chef Jerome Tauvron’s dual-nationality menu.
For indecisive diners, the six-course tasting menu (£95) is a good introduction, but choosing carefully from the à la carte is a less pricey and no less flavourful option – or order the excellent-value set lunch. From the carte, inventive dishes might include beetroot ‘ravioli’ (in which fine slices of beetroot form a sandwich for tangy goat’s cheese mousse) or succulent smoked langoustines wrapped in kadaifi (fine filo pastry).
The latter made its dramatic appearance at table served under a glass cloche filled with aromatic smoke: this place has wow factor and the cooking rarely falters. Chicken is pepped up with nori salt and a sherry reduction, and spicy yellow-fin maki rolls would pass muster in Kyoto. Service is amenable, and the broad-ranging wine list is an oenophile’s dream (bottles can be bought to take away), so it’s a shame only six are available by the glass.
In the basement is the rather bunker-like wine bar Meursault, where the food has a similar, though more casual, Franco-Japanese approach. Insider’s tip: Meursault’s wine-pairing menu (£59 per person with wine) is a good-value alternative to dining upstairs.
36 Gloucester Road
|Opening hours:||Lunch served noon-3pm Mon-Fri. Brunch served noon-3pm Sun. Dinner served 5.30-10pm Mon-Thur, Sun; 5.30-11pm Fri, Sat|
|Transport:||Tube: Gloucester Road|
|Price:||Main courses £16.50-£32.50. Set lunch £17.50 2 courses, £22 3 courses. Set dinner £22 2 courses, £26 3 courses; £95 tasting menu|
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Average User Rating
4.5 / 5
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Have been to L'Etranger a few times now and I can't resist any more to share how I feel about it. I always believe that a fine dining can come with a few different reasons/purposes. The cuisine of its own, the wine, the atmosphere and the companion. You can easily find them all at one time in L'Etranger. At very high end. Starting from what's on the table. The contemporary creativity and concept behind the menu, the delicate quality of all ingredients, the precise and exquisite execution, the elegant and sexy presentation. It made me realise dining is not just a process of any physical or sociable functions. It can become an education of life style and attitude. It can become an exploration of art. It can become a lesson of self awareness and discipline. And the wine - a 82 pages wine list (awarded as the best wine list in London) and a full wall of different awards in years still can not describe it fully. It is the philosophy, and the acquaintance to the cuisine. I don't believe in perfection, but I believe in wondefulness. With their hand picked extensive wine list, you can easily find a true match for every each dish, occasion, and every mood you have (so long as you have the pocket too.....) About what's around the table - From the decor to the design of menu, cutlery and glassware, sophistication and classy are the first two words come in mind. I have to admit that I wouldn't feel comfortable at all if I am wearing trainers than a nice pair of heels in L'Etranger, but elegance doesn't come without a price, does it? :) With all that said, you wouldn't be disappointment by the people around. All in all, as the name suggested, L'Etranger has its own appreciation towards life, it only attracts likeminds to its own kind. I think i can keep talking on and on about L'Etranger. But rather than so, I have decided to dig out my favorite pair of silhouette, it's time to soak myself back into the place I have fallen in love for. Oui. Je suis dans l'amour. Yes, I am in love. I believe so are many other regulars. And, I have confident that, so will you. :)
Went with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Didn't have a booking but were politely accommodated by the staff, who were consistently charming and friendly throughout the evening. We went for the set menu. Starters were great: the beef tartare was presented neatly in a wooden box, with a quail's egg and all the condiments in separation and the grilled quail came straight off the robata, sticky and petite. Mains were a little tame I thought. The 'fish and chips' were generous in portion but not as exciting as I'd expected. My friend ordered the lamb which was redolent in gamey flavour; I would have ordered this had I not had some excellent lamb the night before. We had some aubergine on the side which was spicy and sweet. I had a Yamazaki 12-year whereas my friend went for a Bloody Mary. The staff were very knowledgeable about their drinks and the wine cellar was impressive in terms of choice... and aesthetic appeal. Finally, for desserts we had homemade ice-cream: the camomile was soothing, the yoghurt more than frozen yoghurt. The real winner was the green apple sorbet which tasted like real crushed, iced fruit as opposed to flavoured ice. They even had the skin in there which created a pleasant gelatinous texture. And I had spent the whole meal nursing my lovely whiskey. It was finally time for the concluding sip.