If you like your restaurants gloriously old-school, you’re going to like Margot. On arrival, a behatted doorman is there to welcome you. Inside, the look is ‘brasserie luxe’: plush booths and banquettes, half-height curtains in the windows and flattering lighting. There’s low-level, jazzy crooning, starched linen and a proper wine list (when I say proper, I mean there’s a dizzying 300 bottles of plonk to pick from). If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the food yet, it’s because that’s not really why you come to a place like this. Margot is not so much about eating as luxuriating in polished, cosseting service in a sumptuous, vintage-glamour setting.
But yes, on to the cooking. The menu, perhaps surprisingly, given Margot’s deco aesthetic, is predominantly Italian. And dishes are good – very good, in some cases – but so they should be, when the restaurant is charging £10-£15 for starters and around £25 for mains. Highlights of our meal included a lightly dressed salad of deliciously crunchy green beans with toasted hazelnuts, fresh orange and slivers of mellow, salted cheese. Even better was a plate of beautifully al dente tagliatelle with a tender, red-wine-laced hare ragu. As was a plate of raw, hand-chopped beef served with soft, silken scrambled egg and slivers of earthy black truffle. Desserts, however, fell disappointingly flat, especially the distinctly unboozy tiramisu that did not, as was promised, ‘pick us up’ at all.
Still, for those of you with deep pockets and the need to spoil someone special with a helping of Covent Garden class, Margot is well worth a whirl.