Green Man and French horn
When Lucian Freud Passed away such was his patronage of his favourite place the Wolseley kept his corner table empty draped in black with a single candle marking his passing. There are those tables that move in such a way that you are always forced to return. a place you want to call your own and on occasion solemn or otherwise a place returns the compliment. I would not be so presumptuous to expect the same and i suspect you need to be one of the countries pre eminent people but I understand the sentiment. Its that sort of place a place to hole up and enjoy life or a corner table or at the bar with friends or alone.
The team behind Terroirs needs no introduction they turned an unloved space into something of a destination in no time at all. In the process they won countless fans with their charcuterie heavy, small plates natural wines and rustic French vibe.
They have since opened Brawn out east and Soif in south London to again wide acclaim then came another pub conversion just up the road from Terroirs – The Green man and French horn.
It’s taken me a while to get round to a visit (and almost as long to finish writing this!) but the first hint of spring last year drew me in and I have been craving and more importantly eating their Leek vinaigrette ever since. Sometimes it is adorned simply with a grated egg other times the ante is upped with the addition of brown shrimps or crab – always it is utterly delicious (as we speak there is a crab horseradish incarnation but I have already shared my dissent, the original still the best) . In fact I loved it so much that I have tried to emulate it at home – several times – and I still fall short. I am close, tantalisingly so, but the final flourish lies just out of reach. To me that belies a real skill in the kitchen. You only have to see how perfectly they cook a piece of fish or veal here to realise this is a chef with considerable talent.
Unlike Terroirs the focus is on the Loire – again the wine list is heavy on the unusual and natural
Textbook rillettes, textbook terrine, excellent bread from St Johns bakery with some deliciously salted butter -seriously what’s not to love?
Then to the main – Boudin Noir and Squid – easily one of the best dishes I ate in London in 2013. Even if you don’t like Boudin Noir or black pudding then you should still try this – you will be converted – If you are a fan already – then you will swoon and forget all boudin that came before. I am in the latter camp and I soon found myself in a protracted conversation about “Black Puddings I have known” with the charming staff who also swoon over that Boudin imported from Christian Parra in France. I’ve recommended this place to several people on the basis of this dish alone.
Vigernons tart – round things off nicely though I’ve noticed lately that they have renamed it winemakers tart – (and then back again) presumably to which makes me feel a little ashamed of us Brits and our lack of language skills – but no matter still delicious.
French Cuisine is oft touted as being on the wane – yet London has seen a spate of Brasserie style openings in 2013– this is genuinely the real McCoy. A little gem in theatre land and oh that leek vinaigrette… worth the trip alone… and the black pudding and …yes well everything else too… see you at the bar…. “I’ll have the omelette Hoops”.