Thandie Newton provided some A-list sparkle at Madame Gautier’s launch a few weeks ago, and this neighbourhood French bistro is already attracting a strong following among the cosmopolitan Kensal Rise community.
The mood is understated, avoiding the theme-park kitsch bedevilling some of London’s French establishments. The menu comprises solid if unspectacular Gallic standards, supported by friendly, knowledgeable service.
Onion soup was robust and generous, but the croutons lacked crunch. No complaints, though, about the delightful croquettes au jambon, with piquant ham and mustard cutting through the creamy potato.
Grilled meats are a highlight. The pork chop seemed quite dry, though this was offset by apple sauce and stuffing-packed tomatoes. Seafood options are limited, but the sea bass fillet arrived precisely al dente, perched
on a mound of ultra-fresh fennel and potato. House wines, from Languedoc, proved a more than adequate accompaniment.
Desserts feature a cast of familiar names. Crème brûlée, its crust replete with bonfire-night flavours, was a textbook rendition, while fig tart with ginger and honey ice cream was an intriguing melange of tastes.
Madame Gautier is family-friendly, with colouring sets presented to junior diners: a lovely touch.