Restaurants, French Holborn
Venue says First Monday of the month: test drive menu –five courses, £29.50. Fourth Tuesday of the month: wine dinners –four courses and wines, £49.50.

There’s something anomalous about this attractive, lavender-hued Provençal specialist tucked in among lawyers’ offices. Under the skylight and among the potted olive trees, the discreet curved banquettes offer the impression of sitting in a Mediterranean courtyard – a welcome respite for legal eagles. Incongruity sometimes extends to the food as well. There’s no doubting the culinary skills or authenticity of ingredients, but occasionally what should have been delightful is instead intriguing but frustratingly just wide of the mark. Perhaps that’s the problem with novelty-seeking contemporary French cooking, and certainly all the olives and basil you could wish for are here.

After a terrific tapenade, black olives appeared in bread, in a so-called confit of salmon (floating damply in a soupy lettuce velouté), and again with lambs’ tongues, tiny potatoes and watercress. Beautifully cooked guineafowl was served with a drab-looking peach salsa and panisse (hefty chickpea chips), while the thrill of finding lamb’s tongues was mitigated by the delicate flavour being swamped by dressing. Sea bass with perfectly crisp skin matched with tomatoes in different stages of cooked – from raw to confit – was more like it. Sadly, puddings rather misfired again. Tea and blood peach pot was a beige cream with pink purée on top; blackberry île flottante was a spongey meringue speckled with the out-of-season fruit on an admittedly lovely custard.


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Cigalon says
Set in a magnificent former auction house on Chancery Lane, Cigalon brings the fine cuisine of Provence to London. Showcasing a classy selection of French recipes, the menu sees adventurous flavours served alongside succulent grill options: choosing from the best available seasonal produce and adding a splash of classic Provence on the side. The wine list is all French with a strong focus on Provence and Corsica; we take pride in showcasing wines from lesser-known producers; many of which are unique to us in the UK.A lively open kitchen offers a flourish of entertainment in Cigalon's effortlessly elegant setting. Vivid dining room with double height glass ceiling, executed in soothing pastels instantly transports you to the Provençal idyll.
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Venue name: Cigalon
Address: 115 Chancery Lane
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.30pm, dinner served 5.45-10pm Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Chancery Lane or Temple
Price: Set menu from £21.50
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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This has to be one of the most underrated restaurants in London. The set dinners are extremely affordable with decent choice, and the quality of food is top notch. Definitely deserves a bib gourmand in my book. The setting makes you feel like you are dining in a greenhouse. The service staff are excellent and extremely attentive. They are also very knowledgeable about the menu which helps a great deal. Menus tend to change every month or two but you can guarantee that their amazing bread basket with to die for olive spread is going to be a constant!

A quick restaurant : nice staff, superb ambience and on top of it nice food !