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With its olive trees, ivy-clad trellises and airy glass-roofed dining room, Cigalon transports diners to sunny southern France – you’ll even hear a soundtrack of chirping cicadas in the background.
Local legal eagles and regulars from the nearby French Chamber of Commerce choose from a first-rate regional menu that includes Provençal specialities such as pissaladière Niçoise alongside
Corsican charcuterie and cheeses, plus excellent seasonal dishes ranging from red-mullet carpaccio topped with shavings of poutargue (pungent smoked mullet roe) to rustic lamb shoulder with
artichokes and trompette mushrooms. Pretty desserts might include nectarine poached in rosé wine with lemon verbena and blackcurrant sorbet, while the drinks list is stuffed with rare regional
tipples. Cigalon does most of its business at lunchtime, thanks to wallet-friendly set menus and an express ‘plat du jour’ (£12 for two courses), although service ‘could improve’.
In London, even in the leafy suburbs, the night always seems uncomfortably silent and sterile. So imagine my surprise when I recently went to dinner at Cigalon on Chancery lane and dined to the sound of… cicadas.And that’s not the only surprise when you arrive at Cigalon, sister restaurant to the very lovely Club Gascon and its little cousin Comptoir Gascon. The restaurant (named after a character in the eponymous 1935 Marcel Pagnol film) is situated in a former auction house on Chancery Lane: Andrew and I stepped off the grey London street through a narrow door and emerge totally unexpectedly in a double-volume dining room with a greenhouse-style glass ceiling, reed fence walls and the piped sound of singing cicadas. I could not have been more surprised had a giant cicada in a 3-piece suit greeted me at the door! Within moments of leaving Chancery Lane, you are all set for dinner on a friend’s terrace on a warm night in Cannes, complete with spindly, graceful light-fittings that hover above you like some glamorous starlet’s sun hat...
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