London doesn’t get much more lah-de-dah than Coquine, which is located on the exclusive end of the Old Brompton Road near the Little Boltons, which – don’t be fooled – aren’t very little at all. They’re massive mansions that cost a lot of money. People actually live in them. Remarkable.
Highfalutin and heavily designed by bar designer Lee Broom, it certainly doesn’t lack in the looks department and, on our visit, was filled almost exclusively with French folk.
In the back room, dedicated followers of dapper design will no doubt get excited about the decanter chandelier. Made from an array of antique decanters, it dangles above a mirrored dining table set low, but high enough to comfortably fit Nicolas Sarkozy underneath.
The main bar, shaped like the Z-block in ‘Tetris’, is similarly chic, with lampshades lined with Persian rugs, turquoise crushed velvet banquettes, dark floors and marine and green tiles.
Downstairs in the clubbier basement, the decadence deepens with darker hues, DJs at weekends, intimate, canoodle-friendly alcoves and flashes of renaissance art. It’s all a bit VIP.
The food menu’s rich in both cost and cuisine, with some fundamentally French dishes including foie gras on brioche with egg, steak tartare and… er… french fries. A ‘raw bar’ section offers oysters, a maki sushi platter and tuna sashimi, which are less French but still a bit pricey.
‘Coquine’ means ‘mischievous’ or ‘rogue’ in French and the cocktail prices are certainly cheeky. Berets off to them: the menu is creative and cleverly compiled, but when asked for a liquorice-infused tequila old fashioned, priced at £9.50, the bartender went all Marcel Marceau by pretending the special spirit was available when it wasn’t.
A normal old fashioned, using a mainstream bourbon, was offered instead – and we were charged £12. Like a flick-knife on a sixth-form trip to Dieppe, it really shouldn’t be allowed. Even for a Chelsea Charlie, £12 for an old-fashioned is a ridiculous chunk of change – especially for those allies across la Manche who work a 35-hour week with five months’ holiday a year and dedicate 28 days of that year to striking.
For more than a hundred quid, the bar also sells bottles of bubbly and entire bottles of spirits, alongside a list of Champagne cocktails named after French actresses such as Audrey Tautou, Sophia Loren and the tasty waitress from René’s cafe in ‘’Allo ’Allo’. (I made one of those up.)
Surrounded by a healthy and haughty crowd all sporting Roland Garros suntans, you can’t help feeling fugly here.
160 Old Brompton Road
|Opening hours:||Open 6pm-1am Mon-Fri; 11.30-1am Sat; 11.30am-11.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: South Kensington tube|
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Average User Rating
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We ate at Coquine last night (also on a GroupOn deal) and although we enjoyed the food, the service was terrible. We arrived half an hour before the time of our booking and asked to have a cocktail first. This seemed to really confuse the waitress who didn't seem to understand much we said all evening. We waited to be served, despite the place being half empty. The service was slow and the cocktails were disgusting - thank goodness it was happy hour because I would not be happy paying £8.50 for what we received. The wait between our starter and main course was more than half an hour - even though we ordered them both when we arrived. As it was taking so long we asked for a bottle of wine - again the waitress needed my order repeated several times and then told me that she wasn't sure if it was available. I said we would have the house wine if it wasn't available and she went away. We waited. And waited. No wine came. She wandered around from table to table (it was busier by then) and didn't seem to even check about the availability of the wine. Our main courses arrived and still no wine. We asked another member of staff (who seemed a bit more senior) if he knew where our wine was and he offered to get it for us, but by that stage we had waited so long that we didn't want a full bottle. We ordered 2 glasses and held off eating our main courses while he got them for us. The desserts were served reasonably quickly. When the bill arrived we were charged for 3 cocktails (we had only had 2 and they were during happy hour so should have been 2 for 1) and a bottle of wine that we didn't have. They rectified it for us but the service was so bad that we will not be returning. Both of the waitresses who served us spoke such poor English that we had difficulty making ourselves understood each time we asked for anything. The food was ok, but would not be worth the price if we had not used GroupOn. Not recommended.
We went on a Thursday evening with a Groupon deal (£29 for a three course meal for two + a glass of Prosecco). First it was very hard to book a table as I had to call several times and when someone picked up, they kept me on the line for 2 minutes then hung up. I eventually managed to book a table but on the day, they did not have our name on the list. The tables are small and the seating quite uncomfortable. We went fot the prawn frittis for starter and were disappointed in the size of the dish (4 prawns), not worth the price on the menu (£7.50). We then chose Rib-eye steaks, we asked one well done and one medium rare but they both appeared to be cooked medium. The portion of chips was ridiculous. Steaks and chips were lacking seasoning and we had to ask for salt and ketchup. Finally out of the four desserts on the menu, only three were available that night so we chose the chocolate fondant which was good but could have had a scoop of ice cream on the side. All in all our experience in Coquine was decent considering the Groupon discount but we would never have payed full price.
We, a party of 6, who eat out regularly, had the worst restaurant experience at Coquine! First, they mucked up our booking, it took us 4 long phone calls speaking to various people(including Shaheena & Kemal) to get the booking we originally asked for! We had to be sat at a small crammed table which should sit 4 people instead of 6. Starters were inconsistent - 4 of us had the Calamari Fritti and 2 of us had the Prawn Fritti. The garnish was different on each plate and everything was served with the same tahini dip even though the menu stated otherwise. We asked the waiter about this and he actually had to bring the menu to us and have us, the customers, read the menu to him. The main course of Mixed Grill was ordered by two of us. Both plates had uncooked prawns which were still transparent and frozen in the middle. We told the staff of this and they returned to us with a message from the chef "the prawns are meant to be that way, they're cooked". This is ridiculous and a serious health worry. We then asked to see the manager. We waited ten minutes and the manager had still not arrived. We asked to see the manager a second time. He failed to appear, it was only when we went to use the restroom that we saw him downstairs and asked if he was the manager. He claimed he did not know that customers were asking to see him. This is unacceptable but by now we did not care. We had finally got hold of the manager after a 25 minute wait. However, the manager(Kemal) was very unpleasant and unapologetic. He continuously made excuses for the poor service and uncooked food. And eventually, he left us without rectifying any of the problem. We left without finishing the main course and without ordering desserts, which we paid for already on Groupon!