Le Chardon’s French owner Robert Benyayer picked the right spot when he was looking to open a place of his own back in 1997. His chosen site was one of David Greig’s groundbreaking Victorian grocer’s stores, & the interior still shows off its character with beautiful original tiling & signage. Detractors feel there’s little genuine enthusiasm in the service, but the food is as Gallic as can be, from starters of garlicky snails, moules marinière & a salad starring grilled chèvre & roasted peppers to steak tartare, coq au vin, rump of lamb with rosemary or Barbary duck breast glazed with orange & honey sauce. To finish, chocolate mousse, crêpes Suzette & crème brûlée have devastating appeal. Le Chardon is at its most agreeable midweek evenings: the less busy the small space is, the more comfortable you’ll be. Also check it out for breakfast & Sunday lunch.
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