What does one do in a restaurant called L’Escargot Blanc other than immediately order snails? I didn’t manage to deviate much from this thought as our delightful waiter read us the specials, including the soup of the day.
It had been many years since my last visit to these premises, at which time it was known as the French Corner Bistro. It was a place I rather enjoyed, so was glad to see that much of the charm and ambience was retained.
As hinted at, the welcome was high on smiles and general bon vivance. We were seated at a nice window table that allowed us to view the world going by outside.
The menu was pleasingly compact and bijou, so we were quick about our choices. Nadine opted for risotto followed by sea bass, while I went for snails then blanquette de veau, from their “casseroles of the day”.
As we contemplated the lovely viognier we’d ordered to go with our food, our starters arrived. Nadine’s risotto was packed with flavour. My snails were just great. With expert commentary from our excellent waiter, Nadine was introduced to her first garlicky escargot. She was delighted by the little blighter, and my enjoyment of them was equally ebullient.
With starters suitably consumed, we paused to contemplate the surroundings. As with the previous management, things have been kept simple. The style is relaxed Gallic bistro. The place oozes a relaxed ease, and this is coupled with a sense of intimate sophistication. It’s the kind of place where you want to bottle the vibe and market it as the valuable commodity it surely is.
When our main courses arrived, Nadine’s sea bass looked smart, and was a well-executed dish judging by the forkfuls I tasted. My veal dish was really good. One of those “cooked long and slow, so the meat falls to bits” dishes, it was beautifully seasoned and richly pleasing.
An excellent cheeseboard coupled with lovely calvados and armagnac followed. It rounded out what had been an extremely pleasing restaurant experience.
The elephant-memoried among you will remember that I was not a fan of their sister restaurant, L’Escargot Bleu, on my visit. The reservations I had about Bleu were not in evidence here, and I thought Blanc an absolute delight. This is in no small measure down to the service, which was beyond friendly and much like being invited in to the home of a treasured family member. Without question, I’ll be back to sample further dishes from their ever-changing menu.
Blythe scores the L’Escargot Blanc:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20
Today’s questers were: Nadine, Blythe
We ate: risotto, snails, seabass, veal blanquette
We drank: viognier, armagnac, calvados, water
We wore: smart dark top, red and blue www.tieclub.co.uk tie
Total bill: c.£85