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Serge et Le Phoque (CLOSED)

Restaurants, French Fitzrovia

Time Out says

Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.

Please note, Serge et Le Phoque has relaunched as Yopo, a modern European restaurant with South American influences. Time Out Food editors, May 2019.

I don’t care who Serge is and I think we can get all the ‘what the Phoque’ jokes out of the way. Just know that this is a swish restaurant in an ultra-fashionable new hotel. The door staff were achingly cool, yet refreshingly friendly (this despite my being dressed to unimpress). You walk past a wild, bijou bar to the restaurant, which by comparison is restrained. It’s sleek and luxurious, with charming staff who look like they’ve come straight from a Parisian photoshoot.

This is the London outpost of a hot French restaurant in Hong Kong, so the menu, though broadly modern European, also has plenty of exotic Asian splashes. A boozy rum baba with mango accents was one of the best I’ve had. Another dessert bizarrely yet brilliantly combined a lemon cream with a red pepper jelly. Earlier on, there’d been a terrific plate of charred octopus, with fat, salty pearls of roe, a rich jus and a quarter of a deliciously fungal ‘century egg’. Top marks.

There were wobbles: a too-tart ceviche, an uninspiring piece of monkfish. And prices are steep (£15-ish for starters). But for a special occasion – book drinks in the bar and don’t miss the glam hotel loos either – this sophisticated newbie is a safe bet.


Address: The Mandrake
20-21 Newman Street
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Road
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