The Covent Garden wine bar has rebranded its East Dulwich offshoot ToastED as a sibling branch of Terroirs.
Harden's survey result
With its “outstanding range and quality of wines” (many of them funky, if “slightly hit-and-miss” ‘biodynamique’ vintages), and “limited-but-quirky menu” of rustic French fare (charcuterie, cheese, eel salad, smoked cod’s roe), all at “decent prices”, this well-known dive of nearly ten years’ standing, near Charing Cross station, “feels like a trusty friend” to very many reporters. “Perhaps one was more excited a few years back when places like these were less common” but its ratings have softened in recent years – “dishes can be a little inconsistent” and the very “Gallic” service “has gone backwards”. Still, it’s “always buzzing”. In October 2017, owners Cave des Pyrène rebranded its East Dulwich offshoot ToastED under the same name.
“It’s hard to navigate the wine lists, but they’re always exciting and full of interest” at this “handy pit stop near Charing Cross” which feels “French through and through”; and whose “really interesting, if simple, meaty and cheesy Gallic plates, and knowledgeable and friendly staff ensure it’s always buzzing”. (That it lacks the massive profile it once enjoyed has more to do with how far London has improved since it opened in 2009, than anything that’s much changed in itself).
“The kind of spot you’d get excited about if you chanced on it in Paris!” – this “buzzing”, subterranean bistro near Charing Cross station remains a well-known pioneer both of “honestly Gallic”, “rustic” dishes (with much charcuterie and cheese) and also “weird and wonderful biodynamique wines from owners Caves de Pyrene” – “organic, unfiltered, and with a heavy French accent… like the staff!”
“Bold” and “so, so tasty” Gallic tapas dishes help soak up the many “esoteric” and “fascinating” organic wines at this wildly popular, “casual” bistro, just off Trafalgar Square; both the main room and hidden-away sub-basement are “buzzing” and “great fun”.
Terroirs Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Limited menu, mostly small plates, but also few but interesting and well executed main courses. Long wine list and good choice of out-of-the ordinary beers."
"Fantastic ‘real’ wine, with a lively atmosphere and friendly, attentive service. The snacks and charcuterie are reasonable, but the mains are uninspiring. "
"Very buzzy wine bar with extensive wine selection. Tucked away off Trafalgar Square - you'd have to know about it to find it, but sadly many people do as normally packed out. The food is decent standard fare - plate of meats, cheese, pate etc. All goes down well with the wine. Tends to be busy with theatre goers early evening."
"Buzzy, relaxed, wine focussed restaurant but with decent European plates to go with your lovingly chosen and often esoteric wine!"
Just off Trafalgar Square, a pleasantly simple Gallic bistro of a type that's all too rare in London; owned by a wine merchant, it also offers a good choice of wines by the carafe and glass; a basement restaurant is scheduled to open in early-2009.
Find a re-emerging central restaurant location (Covent Garden), and locate premises not too far from an already successful basement wine bar (Bedford & Strand). Use as basis for a good basic food 'offer', in the no-nonsense style that's very quickly made a big name for the Giaconda Dining Room. Add a quality wine proposition closely modelled on that of Arbutus. Garnish with a soupÃ§on of Gallic joie de vivre. Et voilÃ . That, in short, is the recipe for this new bistro.
Basic, accessibly-priced non-ethnic (which is to say European) bistros of quality are still fantastically rare in London, and we are conscious that, in consequence, they sometimes attract a rather OTT critical reception. With this in mind, however, we'd have to say this is a pretty good place. Too many restaurants in recent years have tended to value décor and 'concept' over food, and it's always good to find somewhere that's got its priorities right.
That's not to say that everything here is perfect. This is not in our view any sort of destination for a blow out. We'd suggest it more for a savoury dish - perhaps an exemplary boudin noir with fried eggs, or a generous duck pie with flaky pastry - and a glass, or carafe, of vino. The place is owned by a wine merchant, and the list is impressive, and good-value. In comparison to the virtues on the savoury and wine front, puddings can be a distinct let-down.
Let's hope they get realisation more consistent across the board before they open up the fully-fledged basement restaurant, scheduled for the early days of the New Year.
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm-11 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm-11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-11 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-11 pm|