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Launched in a former Lyons tea house, marble-walled Club Gascon is now an ‘establishment’ name in foodie circles – it’s got the requisite Michelin star and an alpha chef, but it hasn’t lost its
culinary ‘edge’. Toulouse-born Pascal Aussignac’s creativity gives rise to some of the most original French cooking around. Nowadays, look to glazed black cod on burnt pebble with verjuice and
crunchy grapes, BBQ quail on embers with summer roots, fruits and spicy violets, or black olive and chocolate ‘millionaire’ with thyme ice cream to discover where the chef’s native Gascony meets
the modern world. It’s a thrilling journey, even with the set-lunch route (superb value at £25); otherwise the monthly tasting menu and wilder reaches of the carte always reveal new pleasures,
despite the odd culinary misfire. The wine list is almost exclusively southern French, but endlessly fascinating.
I first came across Club Gascon at the Taste of Xmas event last November. Having tried their foie gras burger it prompted me to make a reservation for dinner. Based in Smithfield it has held one Michelin star since 2002. With it being the lead up to the festive season we had to settle for the ‘Chefs Special’ menu of 3 courses for £28 which seemed a bargain with 3 choices for each course.
For starters I chose grilled pine smoked duck hearts, wild fennel and diabolo sauce. They were well cooked with a bite and not overdone. The sauce added a slight sourness which went well with the grilled duck hearts. My dining partner, P, had watercress veloute, goats cheese gnocchi and mouli, he commented that it was average at best... More from Nomface »
For more than 11 years, chef-patron Pascal Aussignac has been building his reputation in The City, especially around Smithfield Market. His first venture was Club Gascon, which has since extended to the Cellar, the Comptoir Gascon, the recently opened Cerle in Chelsea and Baranis, tucked-in behind the Royal Courts of Justice; nothing can stop this acclaimed chef.
Quietly working, Aussigac has permanently been creating after the success of his flagship... More from vialaporte »
It all started with my friendâs sudden desire for foie gras and her research on where to have the best in London. Only after having agreed to it, did I find out that I passed by this very restaurant almost every day on my way to work: Club Gascon, a Michelin star French restaurant next […] More from Kings X Girl »
When people hear that I have a food website, they jump to all sorts of conclusions. For a start, they panic that when I come to their house for a meal I will photograph their food and then write a scathing critique of their cooking skills on my blog. (OK, they are probably right about the photographing part!). They assume that I cook as if I have guests every night, and never come home late from work and bung oven chips and frozen breaded fish fillets in the oven. (Oops, have I said too much?) Or colleagues will pass by my desk at lunch and rubberneck at what I am eating, thinking it must surely be artisanal sourdough topped with foie gras and a side order of caviar. Hah. Not so much. They are far more likely to find me munching on a cheddar and coleslaw, or a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich. And yes, sometimes these are from Tesco. Mea culpa.
So when I DO leave my desk and go out to lunch, I am usually looking for something diametrically opposed to my usual boring sandwich. And I am pleased to say that last week I found lunch Nirvana practically on my office doorstep. Club Gascon was opened in 1998 near Smithfield Market in Clerkenwell by Vincent Labeyrie and chef patron Pascal Aussignac and is one of London’s best-loved French restaurants. As the name suggests, the restaurant specialises in fine cuisine from South-West France, and it was not long before they were awarded a Michelin star. I liked the place as soon as we walked in; small but full of beautiful things, like the pistachio-coloured banquettes, the distressed silver ceiling, the gigantic flower arrangement on the bar, and the very beautiful curved wooden screens. And we won’t even start on the tableware – I don’t think I have ever seen more covetable ceramics in a restaurant... More from Cooksister »
In the decade since Pascal Aussignac moved to London from Paris, he & business partner Vincent Labeyrie have built up a small empire of Gascon-inspired sites in the capital. The jewel in the crown is the Michelin-starred fine-dining site Club Gascon, where Aussignac's tapas-style dishes from south-west France have won a cult following among London's diners. Chelsea restaurant Le Cercle & Smithfield-based wine bar Cellar Gascon, plus bistro & pastry deli Comptoir Gascon complete the package.