Harden's survey result
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“You know what you are getting” at this Gallic steakhouse chain whose “unique formula” delivers “excellence through simplicity” – the only menu option is “tasty” steak-frites (with unlimited seconds), garnished with their “to-die-for secret sauce”.
“Addictive steak, secret sauce and fries” (and no other menu options) is the winning formula of this “busy” Gallic grill-house chain, whose “efficient but perfunctory”, “bums-on-seats” approach adds little to the ambience. “Annoying no-reservations policy” – expect a queue.
“A very simple concept that works every time” – this Gallic steakhouse chain offers little choice – you get “a rather tasty green salad”, steak with secret sauce, “addictive fries”, and second helpings if needed; the setting is “bustling”, but “brusque-verging-on-rude” service can leave branches feeling “soulless”.
“A fantastic concept!”; “you can have anything you like, so long as it’s steak” – which comes “slathered in secret sauce”, with salad and “awesome” fries – at these “crammed” and “efficient” Gallic bistros; “go early or late to avoid the queues”.
Le Relais de Venise L'EntrecÃ´te W1
Plain and simple steak 'n' chips - arguably France's top contribution to world gastronomy - is done very well indeed at this Marylebone newcomer. Don't go expecting anything else, though- so far as main courses go, that's all there is. There aren't any starters, either, unless you include a small lettuce and walnut salad (compris). You can't even order your steak any way you like. It comes one of four ways: bleu, rare, medium or well done. (If you like yours medium-rare, you'll probably find medium fits the bill.)
With meat from Donald Russell (butcher By Appointment) and a covering of the house's secret 'special' sauce there is, however, absolutely no cause for complaint. You might initially think the portion rather small, but - don't worry - 'seconds' are being held back. The frites are excellent too, and come in unlimited quantities.
Desserts seem, relatively-speaking, a riot of choice. They were quite good on our visit - presumably, they'll be even better when, as intended, they can be sourced from Ladurée, whose first London branch opens (at Harrods) later this year.
Overall, the aim has been to create a complete facsimile of the original (near the porte Maillot), and Parisian practices are continued here. On the upside, wine comes by the demi-litre - the perfect lunchtime measure (for two that is). On the downside, service is variable, and you can't book - the word is already out, so get there early!
lunch noon - 2.30, Sat & Sun 3.30 pm, dinner 6 pm, Sun 6.30 pm - 10.45 pm
Last orders: 10.45 pm, Sun 10.30 pm