January 2016: Gauthier Soho will now be closed on Sundays and Mondays. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tue-Sat.
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“Ringing the doorbell adds to the special feel” of a trip to Alexis Gauthier’s “beautiful, plush and quiet” Georgian townhouse, in the heart of Soho. But while it “oozes romance and decadence”, it’s first-and-foremost a gastronomic experience, with “unbelievably slick” service and some of London’s best French cooking – “seasonal, classically based, and superb in taste and presentation”. Top Menu Tip – leave space for the “always wonderful” signature Louis IV chocolate praline dessert.
Ring the bell for entry to Alexis Gauthier’s “wonderfully quirky” Soho townhouse – a perfect venue “for a luxurious date”; the “dreamy” Gallic cuisine (with much emphasis on vegetables) and “impeccable” service are far from secondary attractions, however, and the “superb” wine list includes “some real curiosities”.
Alexis Gauthier’s “inspired” modern French cuisine goes from strength to strength, at his “quirky” and “faultlessly charming” Soho townhouse (where “ringing the door to get in adds novelty”); “I can’t understand why they lost their Michelin star!”
Gauthier Soho Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Definitely top gastronomic experience. A place to go for a special occasion. The food is described as modern French but it has Italian elements too. Highlight of my meal was Winter Truffle Tortellini with Crispy Pancetta & Pancetta Cream, Chicken Jus & Fresh Truffle which totally blissed me out. There is a choice of meat or veg tasting menus or a la Carte. we wen the latter and ordered just two courses plus dessert which was a good thing as we could never have eaten everything as we also were offered two courses of amuse bouches, plus a "pre-dessert" and chocolate truffle spongey sweet and little cake after it was all over. The service lets you take your time and is unhustling. The place is amazing - right in the heart of Soho one street from Shaftesbury Avenue but a calm and quiet town house. More please."
"Lunch menu is great value. Two courses and two glasses of wine come to Â£26. Excellent sommelier matches fine, inexpensive wine to each course. The food is first rate too."
"The food was as good a ever. However, the service was not as good as on previous occasions. 3 times the young lady with the bread walked passed our tale. In the end, I had to ask the Maitre d' if we could have some. Despite this, we will be back. The De Luxe Lunch represents fantastic value."
"Lovely Soho townhouse restaurant, offering top quality cuisine on some great value fixed price lunch menus. The plates are small, but full of flavour, and there were a number of extra dishes offered free. A lovely experience."
"An outstandingly good value offer of an eight course tasting menu at Â£75 for two. Beautifully presented plates of food. The only slight disappointment was the duck which was a bit tough and not as crispy as I would have liked."
"Attentive, professional, but friendly service complements the understated, but stylish dining room, with its pleasantly spaced tables allowing for a degree of privacy rare in the West End. The food is sophisticated and stylish, although each course of the tasting menu is just slightly insufficiently substantial to truly satisfy. Not cheap, but great for the occasional treat."
"A wonderful hospitality experience from start to finish. Great food and imaginative matching wines. Good value for that level of food and service."
"Made our first visit for a while and realised why Gauthier has become so popular. The lunchtime deal is amazing for the quality and variety of the food. You get little extras as standard here with a 3 course meal when other restaurants would promote it as a six course menu!"
In a small townhouse quietly located in the heart of Soho, a Gallic restaurant run by Alexis Gauthier, formerly of Pimlico's celebrated Roussillon - on our early-days visit, there was no sign that the magic had transferred.
Chef from well-known and long-established 'hidden gem' restaurant (Rousillon) sets up on his own in cute West End townhouse (once associated with Richard Corrigan), to offer a refined Gallic formula at reasonable prices. What could possibly not be to like about this Soho newcomer?
Oh dear. We so much wanted - and expected - to like Alexis Gauthier's new restaurant. But we just didn't. That's no reflection at all on the hard-working staff (many also ex-Roussillon), who are invariably charming. But there's no getting away from it: the sentiments the place inspired were ultimately of total indifference.
First problem is the setting. A ring-to-enter townhouse just off Soho's throbbing main drag sounds a dream location, but the reality is that each of the individual floors, tastefully but somewhat blandly decorated, is very small. The entry level consisted of four tables, leaving everyone hostage to the loudly expressed views of humourless bores and, indeed, one such was present on the night of our visit. (Lest there be any doubt, we exclude ourselves from that reckoning.)
The second problem is the food, which may well be a function of the setting: the best food, an eminent restaurateur-turned-critic once confided to us, never comes out of basement kitchens. (Think Ritz!)
Perhaps that's why the overwhelming impression of the dishes we sampled was blandness. Some of this may have been a function of simple under-seasoning, but this is a restaurant which will live or die by its food, and only two of the seven dishes we sampled - herb-crusted halibut with ginger, and lamb with asparagus - raised more than a flicker of interest.
This is all the less forgivable when Gauthier has imposed on himself a worst-of-all-worlds formula for modern dining. Dishes are offered in fashionable 'tasting' portions (albeit fairly large ones), but not - Ã la maze, say - on an informal 'as it comes' basis. Rather they come in traditional, sequential mode, with Michelin-pleasing pomp each time. (Even, hilariously, sometimes with cloches, though perhaps understandable given the set-up.)
The result of this approach is obvious: attention is focussed remorselessly on each dish in turn, and if it does not live up to expectations there is nowhere for the kitchen to hide. And, if you have a bore on the next table, nowhere for the customer either.
21 Romilly St, London, W1D 5AF
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Last orders: Tue-Thu 9.30 pm, Fri & Sat 10.30 pm