Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“A well-oiled, old-school machine that still delivers!” The Roux dynasty’s Mayfair icon “never goes out of fashion” to its army of fans for whom it’s “simply the best”. Founded in Chelsea in 1967, it moved to its current “cosy” site round the corner from the American Embassy in 1982, and even if the occasional reporter “wishes it wasn’t in a basement” the general effect “oozes class and charm”. Michel Roux Jr succeeded his father at the helm in 1991, and “the regular presence of the great man himself adds value; he takes time with his customers and actually talks!” (Currently his daughter Emily is being primed as next in line.) The Gallic cuisine – under head chef Rachel Humphrey – is “rich and sumptuous”, while the “polished but un-condescending” service under Emanuel Landré is “almost other-worldly good”. “A hefty chunk out of the wallet” is of course de rigueur, but even so gripes about “arm-and-a-leg” bills increased this year, contributing to the food grade missing a 5/5 for the first time in a few years. Top Tip – “The fixed price lunch menu is still the best deal in London!”
London’s oldest temple of Gallic gastronomy narrowly missed the No. 1 slot in this year’s survey, but for its legions of fans remains “the absolute pinnacle of fine dining”. Established by Albert Roux nearly 50 years ago (and run by his son, Michel Roux Jr for the last 25), its hallmark style combines “richly indulgent” cuisine (overseen by head chef Rachel Humphrey) and an “astonishing, predominantly French wine list”, served in a “classy” if “dated”, “’70s-France” basement setting, while it follows a pleasing, “slightly anachronistic” formula (“jackets required for men, ladies’ menus don’t have prices”). “Ever-attentive, charming and unostentatious” staff add further to the experience, as does the “accessibility and personal attention” of the main man, who is much in evidence. The price? – best not to ask, but the set lunch is “stonking value”. Top Menu Tip – soufflé Suissesse.
Michel Roux’s “iconic” Mayfair bastion (est 1967, by his father Albert) provides a “flawless and indulgent” treat, wherein “psychic” staff deliver “elegant” French cuisine and a “wine-lover’s” list “full of gems”. That the basement setting looks “a little dated” is all part of the traditional charm, and the main man’s regular presence helps underpin “a truly magnificent experience”. Top Tip – “the best value set lunch ever”.
“Steeped in classic Gallic tradition”, this “formal” Mayfair basement is “immune from trends and fashion”, and – with Michel Roux Jr often very much in evidence – “unsurpassed” for those looking for a “majestic” old-school meal; “the bill makes you cry”, though, so “book months ahead for the fantastic lunch deal”.
Le Gavroche Restaurant Diner Reviews
"I loved the whole experience of La Gavroche from start to finish. Seem less super friendly but professional service, great value for money on the Lunch prix fix menu and even on the small menu I was torn about what to have, and what I did was delicious. What really made it for me were the little extras, canapÃ©s', bread (and proper butter) and petie fours, such a treat. The only shame was that I didn't het to meet Michael Roux jr himself....but I probably would have been to star struck and embarassed if I had! Probably a once in a lifetime for me, but I'd happily go back in a shot. Super easy to find too."
"Our welcome was simply exemplary, the discreet lighting at the perfect level, tables properly dressed and spaced, and staff always immediately there when required. The menu exceptionnel is a firm favourite, and the wine flight, although on the face of it rather expensive, provides very suitable choices to match the particular characteristics of each dish; an example of this was an English Chardonnay which, although not easily identifiable as being that cepage, perfectly matched the stone bass on the plate. The amuse-bouches of pumpkin arancini and salad tartlets topped with bacon were nicely paired with a glass of sweetish Albert Roux champagne and set us up for the signature starter of delightfully soft and creamy soufflÃ© suissesse, which was quickly followed by a carpaccio of Galloway beef marinated overnight in spices and accompanied by a tongue-tickling salt beef sandwich, perfect horseradish sauce and pickled beetroot that was just out of this world! We are always happy to have scallops, but, although the Noilly Prat veloutÃ© worked very well and the leeks were perfectly charred, the roast scallops left something to be desired in their softness. Salted and seared stone bass with a sensational hazelnut condiment followed and the dish was raised to another level by the well-judged addition of chicory, balsamic flakes and some surprising orange. The two meat dishes were both superb: poached and glazed pork cheek, tender as you like and complimented beautifully by a pumpkin and mustard purÃ©e and a really tasty rosemary jus, and then a supreme roast Lake District loin of venison backed up with venison stuffed red cabbage and a lovely juniper sauce. The cheese selection included so many French and English variations that it was difficult to limit oneself, but we did manage and we sampled and enjoyed a Spenwood from Berkshire for the first time. The Calvados Baba was matched with a Canadian ice cider, which made the whole dish perhaps just a touch too appley for our palates. Discussing the meal afterwards we agreed that even though the food was really good and, despite it feeling slightly rushed between courses, the service absolutely top-class, in the end the wow factor had been missing. Usually we have been inspired by the whole experience at Le Gavroche, but on this occasion we felt on something of a plateau. We concluded that perhaps the reason was that, bizarrely, with the first and the final dishes matching each other in uniform lightness and softness, and those in between covering a rather dark-coloured palette, the visual aspect of the food on the table lacked variety and from that aspect classicism had suffered in the face of modernism. Nonetheless, this was a very enjoyable evening in an atmosphere that is streets ahead of most of this venueâ€™s competitors."
"menu exceptionnel was amazing"
"Amazing food and excellent service. All round a wonderful dining experience. Albeit a very expensive one."
43 Upper Brook St, London, W1K 7QR
lunch noon - 2 pm, dinner 6 pm - 10 pm
Last orders: 10 pm