One day it’s closed. Then open again. Then it really is closed: the builders are in. This long-established bistro has been through some ups and downs of late. It turns out that Luc, the founder, had been out of the picture for the past few years, but the régime he put in place only finally hit the buffers a few months ago.
Now, it really is all-change. The new gaffer is none other than Simon Binder who, one of the staff told us, has launched no fewer than 80 restaurants. As he set up the Café Med group, this apparently implausible claim is quite possibly true. Philippe Lhermitte – scion of the family which has run the Covent Garden bistro Mon Plaisir for over half a century – is general manager. With these sorts of people behind the place, you’d think it couldn’t go wrong, and fortunately you’d be right.
The new team has tinkered with the layout and décor of these upper-floor rooms, but the traditional style and charm of the place has mercifully been left intact. In its tightly-packed way, this remains one of London’s more convivial dining spaces. It has been made a dash more feminine, but, at least in the early days, the clientèle remains resolutely chappish.
Given the management changes, it’s perhaps odd how closely the menu of the ‘new’ establishment resembles that of the old. It remains straightforward and carnivorous (perhaps helping to account for the modest number of ladies present).
Standards, both on the food and service fronts, are briskly professional. There’s quite a varied Gallic wine list too, which includes some quite reasonably-priced regional choices. So, all in all, the new, 21st-century Luc’s remains a happy haven for those who wish to lunch well into the afternoon.