Ever since trying their delicious scallops at Taste of London I’ve been dying to try Les 110 de Taillevent – sister restaurant to two Michelin starred Le Taillevent in Paris. So when I heard they were doing a special Valentine’s tasting menu, I was eager to book our spot.
Valentine’s day was a pretty cold and rainy affair in London this year but once we arrived to a warm building (and equally warm reception from the friendly staff), we soon forgot the gloom outside. Our coats were taken and we opted to skip the bar and head straight to our table. Les 110 de Taillevent’s dining room is intimate but not at all cramped with high ceilings. It’s calm but not lacking atmosphere and the restaurant is set across two rooms. The décor is elegant – all gold, cream and wooden, but not over the top.
We had already decided that we were going for the set Valentine’s tasting menu so all that was left to choose was the wine. The Sommelier was full of suggestions and had an incredible knowledge of their very extensive wine list which was presented in catalogue that would rival the Yellow Pages! With our limited wine knowledge we asked for a full bodied red, something not too peppery. After asking about some of the wines we like, he suggested a lovely French red (about £70) which we both thoroughly enjoyed. It’s no wonder their wine list and Sommelier, Christopher Lecoufle, have been nominated for and won several awards. It’s quite astounding the level of detail he could give about any given wine. He wasn’t pushy either – there are wines to suit every budget on their list. They even offer 110 different wines by the glass in 70ml and 125 ml measures. If you’re into wine, Les 110 de Taillevent should be on your list for that alone.
Whilst we were trying to negotiate the large (and heavy!) wine list, we were treated to some savoury Gruyère profiteroles. They arrived warm and the lovely saltiness of the cheese combined with my pre-dinner hunger meant that they disappeared quickly!
Next up the simple delight of fresh bread and butter – its tangy sourdough crust and creamy butter making it a real test not to fill up before the meal had even begun.
Our first course was “Duck Foie-Gras Mi Cuit”, (mi cuit I think roughly translates as partially cooked). It came served with a clementine gel, a clementine segment, toasted brioche and blitzed pistachios. The clementine gel was so wonderfully vibrant and fruity and the foie-gras was firm and buttery, softening as it was spread on the warm brioche. It was a highly indulgent start to the meal.
Next up was the scallop tartare. The presentation of this dish was stunning, the time and precision it must have taken them to do each one was worth it for the beautiful aesthetic. The scallop pieces were wrapped in courgette, accompanied by pickled celeriac and apple. The apple was so fresh and sharp against the sweetness of the scallops and creaminess of the watercress sauce. This was our favourite dish – everything about it was beautiful and balanced.
The steamed John Dory arrived with seafood balancing on it and a champagne Sabayon under it. Everything about the flavour of this dish was gentle, in complete contrast to the last two dishes. It was still delicious, but not one that would have immediately jumped out at me on an A la Carte menu. That’s why I love tasting menus so much. You get to try so many dishes – normally including ones you wouldn’t necessarily have ordered if you had to commit to just one.
The duck wellington that came next was faultless. Perfectly pink in the middle and served with turnips, carrot and orange – all arranged beautifully on the plate. It tasted wonderful and the duck was really tender. The sauce was rich and the oranges were sweet and sticky.
The next dish was the only one I wasn’t looking forward to – an earl grey granite with hibiscus jelly and citrus fruits. I’m not a big fan of tea, but actually this was so refreshing. They bring the fruit segments set into the hibiscus jelly and then they bring this little igloo of granite to the table to serve you as much as you would like on top. The granite was very punchy in earl grey flavour, slightly sweet and very refreshing with the citrus. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and ate the whole dish.
Last up was the romantic Pomme D’Amour dessert. A beautiful pearly, pinky, apple sugar dome filled with caramelised apple, mousse and a Granny Smith sorbet. The mousse was creamy and tasted boldly of apple and the sorbet was much needed to cut through the creaminess of the mousse. I loved this dessert but I could have done with it being half the size (which I think is possibly the only time you will ever hear me say that about dessert!). I must admit I found it a bit sickly after a while – the mousse was just so creamy and the apple flavour of everything inside, so intense.
The service was attentive and efficient throughout. They even brought everyone who had the Valentines Day menu a rose afterwards which was a nice touch.
We loved everything about dinner at Les 110 de Taillevent. It may not have a Michelin star yet but I don’t think it will be long until it has a star of its own to join its sister’s two. I can’t wait to go back soon! It’s special enough that it’s feels like a treat, not so pricey that you have to sell a kidney to go. Elegant but not overly stuffy.
I may still not be able to pronounce it but I can’t recommend Les 110 de Taillevent highly enough!
Price: £££ (£67 per head for the tasting menu we had, plus wine and service).
Nearest Tube: Bond Street/Oxford Circus