Francophiles will feel right at home in Monsieur K: there are snails on the menu, net curtains in the window and a husband and wife team at the helm. Monsieur and Madame K (real names Kamal and Hayette Zerouki) ran a restaurant in Lille for 20 years before they moved to this tunnel of a venue on Earl’s Court Road. The room is low on ambience (and diners), but if you can cope with that the food is good – and occasionally superb.
There’s a stoutly French menu – frogs’ legs, foie gras, steak tartare – and a short, ungreedy wine list (our delicious Gewurztraminer was just £23). Top marks for a lusciously creamy starter of escargots with basil, served (expertly shelled) in a glamorous filo basket.
Mains were enjoyable, but not outstanding. Waterzooi de poissons, a Flemish fish stew, looked fabulous – two rose-pink shrimps perched over a potato galette surrounded by a moat of sauce – but was let down by the absence of promised veg (Londoners like to tick their five a day). Rabbit with prunes came with a moreishly dark and sticky sauce, but the meat was a little dry. Our desserts of waffle with salted caramel and tarte tatin were good but not memorable.
In spite of these few shortcomings, we’d go again. We loved the northern French slant, the lack of pomp and the unbeatable value (three courses are just £25, two are £19). If the kitchen upped its game, it would have all the makings of a fine restaurant. The food is generally high on flavour and artfully presented and the French staff are unfailingly courteous, if a little dippy at times. Monsieur K lacks polish and consistency but it has a warm heart.