Delightfully retro, Mon Plaisir is a long-standing Covent Garden fixture popular with theatregoers, tourists and, for some reason, studenty types out with their parents. Knick-knacks (framed prints, copper pans) abound in the four interconnecting dining areas, and there are even red-and-white checked tablecloths. Cooking focuses on bistro classics of the coq au vin, pork rillettes and steak- frites variety.
A first course of onion tarte tatin was faultless – we appreciated the thyme-infused roast red onion half on a crisp puff pastry base, crowned with tangy goat’s cheese and finished with peppery caramel syrup. Good news continued with a light yet intensely flavoured dish of seared scallops and steamed clams accompanied by reduced stock, cream and cooking juices from the clams. Desserts weren’t in the same league – a chocolate profiterole filled with fresh mint ice-cream was overshadowed by an avalanche of stodgy chocolate sauce.
Equally dispiriting, dark and milk chocolate mousse, served in a glass, was fridge-cold and leaden in texture. Service can be brusque when the tables get busy. If you’re after a bargain, check out the great value pre-theatre and set lunch deals.