Any place that has a giraffe and a sequin-encrusted panther on the wall is worth exploring. Les Trois Garcons is in Shoreditch, a quick walk from Shoreditch High Street train station. The decor reminded me of an old stately home, there were ornaments all over the place, with odd idiosyncratic adornments. There was a dolphin wearing a gold chain, and did I mention the giraffe was also wearing a crown? It has the feel of a rather eccentric bistro, you know those little places that you get in Paris off the beaten track.
Service was attentive, waiters were always easy to get hold of and were also very knowledgeable about the food. They recommend the homard Ecossais, a starter of grilled lobster in the shell with lobstery butter. The recommended mains were the John Dory (Fish of the day) and the Chateaubriand for two.
Back in the East, you have to fight your lobster to get at it. It’s served with a nutcracker, and sometimes with a hammer. In the Far East, having to crack and bludgeon your way to the lobster meat is all part of the fun. Call me uncouth, uncultured, what have you, but I am somewhat unused to and easily impressed by delicious lobster that is not a challenge to access. Les Trois Garcons had cooked the lobster perfectly and then neatly re-packed it into the tail. Easy access and delicious food, and I wouldn’t have to endure a big dry-cleaning bill. It was very fresh, and tasted of lobster, which might sound a little odd, but lobsters that haven’t been cooked right, don’t usually taste of lobster. I’m grasping at straws for something to say here, because I know a good lobster dish when I eat one, but articulating exactly what’s great about it is somewhat beyond my feeble mind.
And so.. on to the mains.
This was the first time I’d ever had John Dory. Purchasing it had previously never crossed my mind. Almost half of the fish is its head, and skinflint me doesn’t like to pay for a fish head I’m not going to use, so I never ended up buying it at all. It was a bit different here, they obviously knew what to do with it, serving it lightly fried with a bearnaise sauce. It’s not a strongly flavoured fish, but its flavour is somewhat unique. The chef hadn’t done much to season the fish, so all those subtle flavours were there.
The chateaubriand was nice and melt in the mouth, and by all standards, a good serving of meat. It had been cooked medium rare (the proper medium rare, not the pink side of napalmed). I’m comparing every steak I have to the Hawksmoor, and it compares very favourably, ticking all the boxes although it’s not going to challenge the king of steaks for its crown just yet.
The dessert we had was the cheese board and the tarte tatin, both of which had been recommended by the waiting staff as well as a mate of mine who knew about food.
One might accuse me of being obsessed with tartes. After all, I seem to have them every time they appear. In contrast to the one at L’art du Fromage, this one had puffier pastry, it was almost a croissant, but in a very very good way. With it came a lemon sorbet flavoured ice cream. Now this was an experience, it had all the flavour of lemon sorbet, the slightly sour lemonadey tastes with the tangy aftertaste, except it was creamy. That was a wonderful surprise.
Les Trois Garcons is the sort of place that scores highly on everything, the food is good, the service excellent, the atmosphere wonderfully eccentric. It is the sort of place you go to if you want an all round dining experience, and is an ideal place for a significant other on a big anniversary.