Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook Street
Mayfair, London
Tel: 020 7408 0881 Marble Arch 0.3 miles

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Giles Coren's review of Le Gavroche (The Times)
Jay Rayner's review of Le Gavroche (The Observer)

Michelin Star Restaurants in London

Le Gavroche reviews

Lunch today was very disappointing. The amuse bouche wasn't even Tesco Finest standard. The starter of tasteless crab toenails basted in batter was drowned in a vodka-laden tomato soup, main course of lamb ragout with beans was uninspiring but other main course of skate was passable, puds of heart-shaped cream cheese with red fruits and raspberry coulis lacked lustre. This set menu lacked any real sense of flavour and freshness. The service was hurried, putting us under pressure, and we had to ask for a delay in the service of the pud.

A disappointing adventure for two birthday girls. If you want a more enjoyable experience, with better value for money, go to Le Manoir.

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 by heather.barback, 07 Jul 2010
My girlfriend cut her tongue on a very sharp spoon for the dessert. When we complained, the spoon was taken away. However, when Michel Roux came out he did not even apolgise; all he offered was a signed copy of his book, which we did not even get.

Also, despite being a non meat-eater they gave me a meat dish after I told them I wanted fish - not good!

I am so disappointed, I will never return to this restaurant. To say this left a bad taste in both our mouths would be an understatement. Avoid like the plague.

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 by L Jones, 11 Mar 2010
I am one of a group of friends who each Christmas enjoy a lunch at Le Gavroche. We have never been disappointed with the food, wine and whole ambience. All the restaurant staff are so attentive and it is one of the highlights of our festive season. I introduced my family to the Le Gavroche experience and they also enjoy the exceptional food. Their set menu lunch, which includes wine and mineral water, is extremely good value. If you have never been, then go - you won't be disappointed.

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 by JIT, 09 Dec 2009
The style of the food was very old school and a bit heavy. This is not nouvelle cuisine for sure. That said, if what you seek is solid, tasty, well prepared food, I cannot think of many restaurants to match Le Gavroche.

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 by convexity (2 reviews), 24 Oct 2009
February 2009 - I went to Le Gavroche for a recognition dinner with my team and was shocked by the experience!

First, as we came in, the bar was very smelly. Then, as we ordered some champagne, they brought us some 'petits fours' which were so strong in taste they hid the taste of the champagne. We then selected the tasting menu at £150 a head with a selection of their best dishes and assorted wines, so we expected something quite decent, as you can imagine. One of my team members does not eat meat and so agreed with the waitress to have all meat dishes replaced by fish, which they did. Except that when we ate foie gras and drank Bagnuls (a rich sweet red wine), they served her sea bass, and to drink Bagnuls as well! The rest of the dinner was served on a watch, with maybe a couple of minutes in between each course, so we did not even get a chance to talk to each other or appreciate the food.

Overall: there were no sophisticated flavours, certainly nothing different to what I had tasted before; the wines weren't exceptional, apart from maybe one; the same sauce was served with nearly all dishes.

We came out extremely disappointed. I personally came out feeling more than disappointed, as I ended up paying for an extremely expensive meal at a restaurant which had nothing to do with 3 Michelin stars!

Useful review? 1
 by desbars, 09 Mar 2009
There is no denying the quality of the food here. It's amongst the best in London. Simply excellent, as is the service.

Where I fall out with this place is the room, which is frankly grim, dark and incredibly old-fashioned. Even worse is the upstairs bar, which is reminiscent of one in a Margate B&B circa 1955. Needs a refurb to give the brilliant food the setting it deserves.

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 by StuH (39 reviews), 03 Nov 2008
We ate at Le Gavroche yesterday. I read some of the reviews online and was prepared to be blown away by the environment, the food, the wine, and the service. Instead I was amazed that so little could be served for so much in a very average room. The food was only reasonable and the wine (red) was served cold. I've eaten better meals served with more flair at half the cost. I reckon on balance this restaurant trades mostly on its high profile proprietor and not on the merit of the product. £750 for lunch for 6 (when 4 of the group ate the prix fix menu) just wasn't justified by the experience.

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 by cajpeters, 03 Oct 2008
My 27-year old foodie son resisted my invitations to Le Gavroche for some time, but graciously agreed to come for my 60th birhtday (Full of old people? Hooray! Get over it - those of us who grew up in the sixties are still ready to party). He was blown away by the faultless service as well as the marvellous food. Can't recommend the restaurant too highly.

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 by dedwards42, 02 Sep 2008
I walk into a small entry hall and the hostess immediately takes my coat, as it has been raining outside.

She asks my name, and then a young man guides me downstairs into a large dark room with low ceilings. It is softly lit with recessed can and halogen lighting.

There are enormous arrangements of spring flowers in two wall niches, (gladiola, rubrum lillies, pussy willows and greens) and a large spray on white orchids graces the back of the room.

Upholstered chairs of red fabric trimmed with leather are gathered around round tables with 3/4 length tablecloths.

Everything carries the Le Gavroche logo, from the starter plate, to the silverware with a figure of a chef on the handles, to the black & gold paper that lines the plate of the amuse bouche.

A silver filigree holder keeps the bottled water cold. A cunning triple salt cellar holds regular salt, sea salt and wrapped toothpicks. There is also a small wooden pepper grinder.

A little 12" high golden oil lamp gleams on the table. A silver, three dimensional fish holds six knives, with decorated silver handles and blades.

It is mostly an older crowd in their 50's and 60's, and the assistant manager, Emmanuel tells me that half of them are regulars. By 7:15 p.m. the room is half-full, and the noise level is beginning to be high.

Waiters all have french accents, and are formally dressed in black. Before the restaurant gets busy, they tend to bustle around uselessly, or hover together in small groups, talking amongst themselves.

Salted and unsalted butter accompany the bread basket. I choose a wheat baguette from the five offerings. I only have one bite, as it is lukewarm and somewhat tough. The waiter never asks if I would like to try something different.

The sommelier is a woman, Celia, and she poorly conceals a sniff of disdain when I decline any wines with the meal.

An enormous silver bowl filled with iced varieties of white and pink champagne is brought to the table next to me, where the flower arrangement in the wall niche is so low it hits the gentleman in the head. Given the amount of money it costs here to have dinner, they should not have a table in that location.

Enrico is my waiter, and he explains each dish.

There is a four piece amuse bouche. Two artichoke hearts are hot and mouth-wateringly good, lightly battered and deep fried. Two cold quail eggs rest on a bed of celeriac remoulade and are garnished with paprika.

The first course is a warm spring green salad that consists of artichoke hearts, carrots, sweet onions, mushrooms, chestnuts, and the tinest of crispy croutons, dressed in a raspberry vinaigrette. It is excellent.

The second course is their signature dish. A twice baked cheese souffle in fresh cream is airy and delicious, very light in taste.

The third course is a soft polenta, whixh serves as a bed for a tempura of baby artichokes, red pepper coulis and herb olive oil. Wafer thin bread with a puree of black olives on one side and a mayonnaise of garlic & saffron on the other is sharp and unpleasant.

The fourth course is a vegetable cannelloni filled with ratatouille on a bed of good couscous, resting in butter sauce with a watercress coulis. (It is improved with a little lemon juice.)

This is followed by vegetables stuffed with vegetables, in an overly salty potato-truffle sauce. A baked tomato holds a julienned green vegetable. The spinach mousse with carrots is mushy. There are potatoes with sweet onions. Aubergine is somehow tough on the outside and too soft on the inside.

Overall, the presentation is pretty, but the vegetables themselves are tasteless.

The cheese board has 40 different varieties on it. I choose an incredibly creamy Conte from the french Pyrenees mountains, and a hard Cheran Mont D'Or. They are served with a crispy, thin, walnut-raisin bread, plum chutney, celery and quince jelly.

The first dessert is a fresh pineapple carpaccio with basil mint garnish and a touch of white rum underneath a creme de caramel donut. It is somehow heavy and overly sweet.

Tea of fresh mint leaves is fragrant and boiling hot, served in a delicate white china cup with the ever present chef logo on the side/ White sugar cubes and brown sugar cubes are brought in silver holders with a small silver spoon on a silver, doily-lined tray.

The last dessert is a petite bitter chocolate cake garnished with gold leaf, and a bitter chocolate sorbet. They are pure in flavor, and taste delicious when combined.

Different petite fours are brought as the final touch to complete the meal, an almond cake with rum that is nice, coconut macaroon, candied gooseberries and lace cookies.

Presentation on everything throughout the meal is dramatic and lovely, but tastes are all a little off, seeming to rely on an excess of ingredients. Only the first two courses, the cheese board and the second dessert are flawless; the remaining half of the dishes disappoint a little.

Le Gavroche may have been a London institution, but now it seems to be coasting on its former reputation.

Unfortunately and despite having 2 michelin stars, Le Gavroche is merely a slightly better than adequate meal, and not worth the money.

Loving Annie

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 by Loving Annie (7 reviews), 03 Apr 2008
Last Friday my partner booked a table at Le Gavroche to celebrate our anniversary. We were both very much looking forward to the evening since we read some nice reviews about the restaurant and your restaurant has been on my list for a very long time. We are food lovers and we don't like gimmicks or novelty food, so when we read in one of the reviews that the décor of the restaurant was a bit dated we perversely thought it was a good thing, assuming that Le Gavroche is a temple for food lovers and not a trendy place to be seen etc...not that we would mind if the décor was a bit more stylish. Our evening at Le Gavroche turned out to be a real disappointment. We chose the 'Menu Exceptionnel' with matching wine in order to sample dishes that reflect the chef's skills and the restaurant's reputation. We chose to have the menu with matching wine as we had several superb experiences at the Orrery, discovering nice wine that would match with the meal. (In fact, on a couple of occasions, we even bought some wine that we like to take home). When we saw that the first wine on the menu wasn't actually a wine but Kriek Cherry beer, we thought that the wine menu looked promising as every wine was chosen carefully to match with each course and in this case the Cherry beer was chosen as a good match for the first course. Anyway, throughout the meal, we discovered that the wine selected were pretty ordinary apart from the desert wine. Not only that, the sommelier and the kitchen were not very co-ordinated: the wine often arrived 5-10 minutes after the food which is not very impressive for a restaurant of this standard. Furthermore, I found it very sexist the fact that the sommelier only addressed to my partner when he described the wine. As for the food, it was rather very ordinary (if not mediocre) comparing with tasting menus that we had at Petrus (Marcus Weiring obtained a very well deserved 2nd Michelin star this year), Orrery and Angela Hartnett at the Connaught which always reflected the chef's skills and talent.

Here are my comments for each course:

1) Thon Mi-Cuit, Vinaigrette au Gingembre Pimenté: the use of sesame oil is very Asian and reminded us of some kind of fusion food.

2) Pointes d'Asperges Vertes, Parmesan, Jambon 'Pata Negra' et Vinaigrette de Truffes; this combination was a waste of very good ingredients. The Cured Iberian ham is the king of ham and is very good by itself but not with the overwhelming truffle dressing. 'More is not always more'

3) 'Petit Pave de Saumon Sauvage Roti et sa Peau Croustillante', we thought the salmon was a bit overcooked (dry).

4) 'Escalope de Foie Gras Chaud et Pastilla à la Cannelle': the foie gras was OK but the crispy pancake of duck was far too salty & stodgy and the combination of flavours did not work at all.

5) Carré d'Agneau Roti, Jus a l'Echalote et Estragon: This dish was competently executed but ordinary comparing with meat dishes that we had in other tasting menus (i.e. Petrus, Orrery and Angela Harnett). The meat dish that we have in other tasting menus usually has three different cuts of meat cooked in three different ways so that the chef can show off his/her talent.

6) Le Plateau de Fromages Affinés: When I saw the cheese trolley from far I was excited to see the wide variety. However the cheese experience at Le Gavroche was also big disappointment. Due the layout of all the tables at the restaurant, the waiter couldn't push the trolley close enough for us to see what cheese selection was available. The waiter only asked us two questions before serving the cheese: a) whether we like goat cheese, b) whether there is any cheese we don't like. Then off he went to randomly cut 4 pieces of cheese for each of us. When he gave us the plate of cheese, he didn't even tell us what cheeses were on the plate and in what order we should eat them (this is the normal practice in other restaurants we've been to). We eat a lot of French cheese at home and when we go to restaurants with a big selection of cheese, we are keen to taste something we haven't had before. Unfortunately, because we didn't get to see and choose the cheese, one of cheese that was given to us was something we usually eat at home.

7) Gâteau Opéra et son Sorbet Chocolat: The chocolate sorbet was very nice but Gâteau Opéra was rather ordinary (we've had better elsewhere).

8) Oeufs à la neige, Crème Vanille et Compote de Fraises: this French classic was very well executed and we like it very much.

To complete our experience at Le Gavroche, when the bill came we were overcharged (a bottle of wine at £144 was added by mistake to the bill), again not very impressive for a restaurant of this standard.

...what a memorable evening that was!

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 by K&T (4 reviews), 13 Aug 2007
Simply perfection! Every single mouthful caused gasps of delight to fall from my lips (with the effect that I sounded as though I was auditioning for an 'Emanuelle' film). Le Gavroche's 'menu exceptionnel' may seem frighteningly expensive at £150 per person. However, for eight courses, with amuse bouches and a generous glass of excellent wine with each course, it really is worth every penny. Particularly divine were the John Dory, the foie gras and the cheeses.

The meal was made even more memorable and special by the standard of the service. There was no sense of anybody rushing, just complete efficiency. Yet the waiters remained jovial and approachable throughout. We had gone to celebrate my birthday and my mother had said when booking that she was highly allergic to shellfish. Impressively, the Maitre d' had learnt our names and knew our situation perfectly, and informed us the chef was perfectly willing to accommodate her needs for the eight courses. At the end of the meal, without being asked, they very discreetly presented me with a small gift and a special souffle (at no extra cost) with 'Happy Birthday' delicately written in chocolate on the plate.

All I can say is go! Yes, it's formal but enjoy it - get all dressed up and just wallow in the glorious cooking and the decadent pleasure of being waited on hand and foot.

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 by Anon 234 (2 reviews), 12 Jul 2007
Living on past reputation.

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 by Anonymous, 13 Aug 2006
Good food (if slightly heavy for my taste) and very good service, but with a clientele with a mean age around 50 years old.

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 by rea (19 reviews), 07 Feb 2006
The atmosphere is very formal and definitely not trendy, but if you are a true 'foodie' this won't matter. The food and service were outstanding, from our pre-dinner drinks straight through to after-dinner coffee and chocolates.

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 by Anonymous, 22 Oct 2005
Full of old people, decor is a bit dated and it feels a bit stuffy, formal service of another era, no windows, very expensive.

Utterly amazing food - consistently perfect cooking, probably the best I've had in Britain.

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 by anonymous howard (3 reviews), 17 Aug 2005
One of my favourite restaurants in London without a doubt. The food is always virtually impossible to fault - beautifully prepared and presented and I always find several things on the menu that have me almost drooling in anticipation. I'm never disappointed when they arrive.

The decor is attractive in a grown-up way, but unlike many restaurants it's purely a backdrop. They're not trying to impress you with their taste in interior decoration or make you feel that you are at the cutting edge of something - they just cook amazing food.

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 by Sarah M. (28 reviews), 24 Apr 2005
Indisputably one of London's finest. Classic in every sense, with warm, efficient service and a fantastic wine list.

It's fairly formal (men should apparently wear jackets) and it's not cheap, but definitely worth a visit.The 7 course set menu was great - magnificent deserts too.

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 by S.G. (16 reviews), 18 Feb 2005
Brilliant food combined with the best service, relaxed, confident and a little formal. Perfect for business meetings, dates (when you want to impress) or even eating alone. Pure pleasure.

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 by Anonymous, 16 Dec 2004
I have been going to Le Gavroche from an early age and have only had one bad meal there. The service is excellent, the food is even better. Not a casual place by all means but great for a first date or important occasions.

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 by Laetitya (5 reviews), 08 Dec 2004

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