Londoners have fallen in love with meat all over again - juicy, tasty, top quality meat. It all started with the quest of the burger in town. The hunt is now on for the most tender sirloin is on. Great news - Chez Gérard has just reopened close on Bishopgate, near Liverpool Street.
It is such a pleasure to push the door, leave London behind to find a chic Parisian atmosphere. Laguiole knives, Duralex glasses, waiters in white shirts and aprons. I was almost surprise to hear them speak English. This is the City, customers are businessmen in between meetings – service here is just perfect. Attentionate but swift - I never waited more than a few minutes between dishes and wow, I had forgotten how fantastic that feels. A lovely flow, never having to check for anything, ah, so relaxing…
Next to me, gentlemen in impeccable suits were sipping on Bloody Marys. Brilliant idea – this cocktail goes brilliantly with red meat. The glass rim is decorated with black pepper, the tomato juice is smooth and sweet, nicely spiced up with tabasco and Worcester. Cheerful pink cheeks garanteed. Alternatively, the menu offers a fantastic choice of well-priced wines that will keep any Froggie smiling.
For starters, I could not resist trying the rock lobster, prawn, crab and avocado cocktail. The presentation, in a glass, really shows it off, making each layer even more appetizing. The seafood portion really is generous, with a divine, rich lemony dressing. Each leval has its flavour – lobster then tender shrimps, ripe avocado then very fresh fantastic crab. I almost asked for some baguette to finish the sauce…
The onglet is splendid – thick, really juicy, fabulous colour. This is British beef too from Casterbridge, aged 28 days for extra tenderness and flavour. Served with with harissa butter (other sauces are proposed but quality meat, trust me, never needs any) and bottomless fries (look around - as soon as it is mentioned everyone smiles) , French-style cut and crunchy. Did you know that National Chip Week is February 18-24? Chez Gérard will hide a golden chip, each day, in one of the portions. If you are lucky and find it, your meal will be free. Oh, and if you want luxury, add some lobster to the plate too!
As for dessert, no hesitation: order the pistachio soufflé. Even if the restaurant only put that one on its menu, people would still come. Real pistachio paste, a tender green, fluffy as a cloud. The ramequin has been dusted with cacao powder, melting with the heat. On the side, real chocolate ice-cream, with a dense, velvery texture. Add a cup of espresso for added pleasure…
Verdict? A splendid place, with even a bar and relaxed atmosphere on the ground floor. The menu is finger-licking good, refined yet gives you this feeling you should have a favourite table and a weekly booked table here!
London EC2N 4AJ