Le Café Anglais, London

Armstrong and Miller in Gay Threesome Shocker” read the headline, admittedly only in my head, as the comedy pair walked past us with an unknown accomplice, perhaps a BBC commissioning editor?

“I didn’t know they were gay” Fred said.  “They aren’t” I replied, “so far as I know anyway”, although judging by their choice of fruity shirts one cannot be 100% certain.

Eat here twice nightly?

We had a decent table near the magnificent bay window atop the ageing Whiteley’s Shopping Centre.  The stars were enveloped by the bay.  The atmosphere is light and airy and the service prompt, efficient, courteous and professional.  Our mop-topped waiter looked like an early 60’s Beatle, so I assumed he was French (as a nation they do like old music – I mean, walk around any public space in France and Phil Collins persists like a 1980’s itch that is weeping puss).  When he described the cheese I realised his French accent was completely fake “erm….. I is Polish” he admitted.  Nonetheless, serve he did, and he was knowledgeable about wine as well as food.

Chablis schmablis

The Pole (whose name turned out to be Lucasz Nalberski) recommended a Chablis to go with half a chicken in lemon, thyme and garlic.  Ordinarily chicken and Chablis might make me barf, but with the lemon and thyme, this young Daniel Dampt 2006 went rather well.  At £29.50 it was the cheapest white Burgundy on the list.  I found it online at The Drink Shop at £10.89 making the mark-up around 170% or less than £20, which is OK for London I guess, but it still hurts to a northern oik like me.

The chicken was served in a pristine (and I mean pristine) roasting pan.  Congrats to the wash-up squad, regularly undervalued heroes of the kitchen.

Mussel risotto preceded the chicken and proved, surprisingly, that the French can do risotto after all (or maybe they employed an Italian/Polish chef).  As for the wine, it was like licking stainless steel – I checked this by licking the back of my watch – an exact match (Tissot Titanium if you want to try this at home).  In fairness there was some fruit with the acidity – peach, lemons and green apples.  Nice enough.

The cheese course, cause of the slipping accent, was accompanied by a glass of Château Delmond 2002 Jean-Christophe Barbe.  A Sauternes sweetie that was suitably sticky, sweet, and reminiscent of Parma violets and honey.  Adequate – hit the benchmark but not exceptional.

The macchiato was a mistake with a virtual meringue instead of froth.  Leave coffee to Italians.  The Bas Armagnac at £7 was a better choice of alcoholic fudge flavours which proved to be a tasty end to a super evening.

Windy Miller and Stretch Armstrong had started to laugh louder than the viewers of their TV show.  It was time to leave them and head off into the London smog.  I was going to ask them for a photo but Fred put her foot down “don’t be so puerile!”  I paid the bill (a pretty reasonable £116 for two inc service) and walked off, my reputation in tact (for once).

Le Café Anglais 8 Porchester Gardens, London, W2 4DB.
T: +44 (0)20 7221 1415  E: info@lecafeanglais.co.uk
W: www.lecafeanglais.co.uk

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