Dinner at Elena’s L’Etoile

So when a friend suggested dinner at French restaurant, I wasn’t so sure I’d get a good choice of veg food – the French are not fond of vegetarians! I do however know that if you know where to look you can get some very tasty options experiencing haute cuisine. Luckily my sister lived in Paris so gave us some fantastic suggestions when we were there…

This review isn’t about Paris but Elena’s L’Etoile, one of London’s oldest restaurants situated on Charlotte Street – a glamorous French style bistro with high quality food and warm hospitality. With its rich red velvet banquette seating and starched white table clothes this great institution has a self confident, classic feel. The restaurant is adorned with a vast array of signed photographs along the walls testifies. Swish looking with service that is second to none, offering fresh bread several times, water when asked, topping up wine glasses and bringing out the food promptly.

My chosen dishes were simple yet elegant consisting of a spinach and goats cheese souffle with ratatouille, pesto and toasted pine nuts as a starter and main was a tasty pithiviere of wild mushrooms and artichokes, roast vegetables, polenta, baby spinach and mushroom purée. Both dishes were very different to anything I’ve had before – slightly small portions but well cooked and expertly presented – well the French do style best!

My friends had the steak and hand-cut chips and belly of lamb – all enjoyed their meals. We finished with a kaffir lime and coconut panna cotta and cheese board. The panna cotta was delicious – perfect to share as a whole slice would have been too much. Unfortunately there was 2 slices of bread only on the cheese board – crackers and grapes would have been more apt.

A really lovely meal catching up – would say it’s a pricey restaurant however with the 50% taste card it was worth it. I’m not sure paying full price would be worth it unless it’s a romantic date.

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Family tea at Barn Hotel, Ruislip

Afternoon Tea at The Barn, Pinner

Towards the end of the Ruislip High Street is a hidden hotel called The Barn – it’s a cute little find not far from where I live. The lounge area is plush with sofas and as we were a group of 7 plus a baby we were given a cosy area to relax in.

The afternoon tea menu of £12.95 each is reasonable when compared to London prices and you get a plate of sandwiches, home-made scones – some with raisins and others without thankfully and an array of cakes, macaroons and eclairs. The sandwich selection was minimal – egg mayo, cheese and roasted pepper/tomato on normal bread and I felt that they could have been more experimental. 

The sweet treats were delicious – the scones heaped with jam and clotted cream were tasty and the bite-sized cakes – carrot, coconut and madeira were melt in the mouth. The macaroons weren’t so great but nothing really compares to Laduree!!

Although there were enough sandwiches to go around – it would have been nice to have been offered a replenishment as they do in most afternoon tea places but for the price I wouldn’t expect this. Though more tea would have been good…