Like a comforting time warp for its army of old-soldier eateries, Shepherd Market somehow keeps even the most antiquated concepts sheltered from London’s myriad dining trends. A prime example is L’Artiste Musclé, which is still as resolutely shambolic as it’s always been – despite some touching-up here & there. The buzz is ever present, with tables spilling out onto the street, & an open kitchen that sees the likes of snails in garlic & parsley, steak-frites, cassoulet, magret de canard, petit salé aux lentils or calf’s liver with pomme purée, cooked virtually at your shoulder. Bills are almost shockingly kind – a reflection of the shabby-not-chic looks, cheek-by-jowl seating & frequently distant (if well-intentioned) service. Those relegated to the shoebox basement should seek comfort in decent Bordeaux – also at knock-down prices.
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