Club Gascon

Restaurants, French Smithfield
Recommended
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
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Club Gascon

A Michelin-starred French restaurant near Smithfield market.

On first impressions, Club Gascon – Smithfield’s longstanding temple to Gallic gorging – has much going for it. Our table might have been minuscule, but the setting was marvellous: all dusky indigo panelling, marble pillars, low, lusty lighting and staff so French as to be borderline indecipherable.

It was a shame, then, about the cooking. With the exception of the first amuse-bouche – a teeny, truffled cheese cracker – and a ‘prelude’ of foie gras, topped with caviar and served with pitch-black squid ink crackers, most dishes had at least one diabolical fault. A starter of grilled foie gras with woody pine mushrooms and razor clam was superficially delicious but one note in flavour. Another, of slow-cooked egg with plankton ‘pearls’, seaweed and matchsticks of chicory, was nausea-inducing: a salty, oddly tangy morass of slithery albumen and crispy vermicelli. Not for me – nor, I’d imagine, anyone else.

Veal sweetbreads were fine, cloud-light and delicate, but drowned out by a sweet-saline shellfish bisque and served, exasperatingly, on under-seasoned quinoa. A concession to the clean-eating brigade or a sick joke? God knows. A well-textured slab of turbot escabeche with winkles had zero vinegary zing and was dotted with little grey globules, which I think were the promised shellfish in mousse form, but were actively repellent, either way. How I wished for more of those crackers.

Being 20 years old and Michelin-starred (with prices to match), Club Gascon might have attained ‘classic’ status, but with St John, Luca and The Modern Pantry within walking distance, it seems masochistic to blow around £100 a head on dinner here, instead. Club Gascon is a nice-looking club, sure. It’s just not one that I could recommend joining.

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Club Gascon says
Club Gascon specialises in imaginative cuisine from the South West of France. Since opening in 1998, the restaurant has received numerous accolades including one Michelin star (since 2002).
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Venue name: Club Gascon
Address: 57 West Smithfield
London
EC1A 9DS
Transport: Tube: Barbican
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £200.
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|11
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1 of 1 found helpful

Absolutely beautiful from start to finish. I booked a table for 18:30 on a Wednesday so obviously we were the only ones there at that time. However it gradually built up and it was a lovely atmosphere. Very friendly and highly knowledgeable staff. Food was immaculate from the amuse-bouche, bread course and the main and dessert. They infuse weird combinations in the food but they all worked a treat. Will surely be back. Highly recommended.


Club Gascon is my favourite French restaurant in the world! Who would have thought French food in London was better than in France! 


Guys this is brilliant and you have certainly won a fan over here! 


10/10

Tastemaker

This was a genuinely exciting experience.! Technically it was a four course menu but there were plenty of small additions in between the proper courses that added up to a very satisfying meal.

What I really enjoyed about this was the combination of flavours and textures in the different courses.

Dishes included, artichoke with pear sorbet and goats cheese roulade, smoked bacon butter, salted butter in edible wrapper, crispy egg, squid and black olive squares and foie gras flan with marmite glaze. To say that the menu is not for everyone is a huge understatement.

In addition to the unusual combinations there was also an abundance of foam and a definite lack of plates. Who decided food should be served on rocks??

On to desert!

I'll confess that I didn't recognise a lot of the words on the menu which leads to an interesting experience. Once it had arrived I'd assumed one of the desserts was white chocolate but it wss actually shaved cheese. Took my mind a while to get around that. There was an egg cup containing a pineapple souffle topped with charcoal and an amazing charcoal crumb sorbet. The final delivery of the evening was presented in two types of bark (?) and contained pasist jellys, spiced nuts and raisins soaked in armagnac. All bloody delicious.

How someone even managed to hygienically wash a bowl made of bark is beyond my comprehension.

I haven't been this excited about a meal on a long time, it was all strange and interesting. Some dishes were truly amazing, others not so much but top marks for creativity.

The restaurant was very quiet for the majority of the evening but I enjoyed the quiet atmosphere and the staff were poliet and attentive without being overbearing.

Club Gascon won't be added to my list of regular haunts but it was a lovely evening and s great choice for special occasions.

Tastemaker

Arrived unfashionably early on a Thursday and were the only customers in the place for quite some time. My friend has raved about the restaurant and it's her fave in London but sadly it left me a little hungry and a little disappointed. Quite a fancy place although thankfully not pretentious- the staff were pleasant and helpful. Menu did not delight me but food was of a consistently high standard. I'd recommend visiting on a Bookatable offer for the experience at a fraction of the regular price as if you have wine is can really blow the budget. 



One of the best French restaurants in London, with some of the dishes here my favourite of any restaurant I've ever been to. It can be quiet early on in the evening but it fills up quickly. If you want French food done superbly, this is certainly worth a go.


Less that 24 hours before our reservation, Club Gascon calls London Foodie Mama: “We don’t have highchairs..we don’t cater for babies..we recently had to ask a family to leave because their baby was disturbing other diners”. Hmm, not the most welcoming start. Undeterred, LFM was determined to take baby (less than 1 years old) to this 1 Michelin starred snooty restaurant. 

In hindsight, we probably would have enjoyed the meal better without the wriggly worm. Pretty stressful keeping bebe quiet amongst the room of men in city suits on expense accounts. 

On to the food: Maybe because we chose the limited lunch set menu (they wouldn’t let half the table go a la carte..why??), but we were not blown away by the dishes. The combinations and ingredients were, let’s say ‘traditional’ and didn’t push the boundaries. Next time, we would like to try the tasting menu but will wait to be on expenses (oh dear LFM needs to find a job first). 

To the restaurant’s credit, they treated us well and the complimentary champagne and sparkler for LFM’s guest’s birthday was delightful. 


Stunning experience at Club Gascon, the a la carte looked fantastic but we opted for the ‘Marche’ menu – certainly more than your average tasting menu with a few nice surprises thrown in too, especially like the amuse bouche and pre desert with mint and wasabi. Of all the dishes my favourites were the duck “Chocobar” and confit scallops – amazing flavours which I don’t think you’ll find in many other restaurants. The service was great and Sommelier explained matched wines really well to a nice like me! Would definitely go back if in the area again.


Good: Great tasting food. Very polite, friendly staff. Close to Barbican & Farringdon tubes so getting home shouldn't be a problem. No rush on finishing meals / no table-turning. Bad: Clearly with the meals in this kind of restaurant you go for the experience rather than an aspiration of getting a full plate, but the portions were pretty meagre, even with that in mind. Waiter forgot our drinks order. Waiter forgot our bread. Was looking forward to trying pheasant but there was no more of this, seemed strange for a high-level restaurant to not plan for a Friday night. All in all... Nice restaurant if you can afford to order enough to not be starving when you leave.

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