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|Address:||57 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DS|
|Tel:||020 3589 2672|
|Price: £64.00||Wine: £25.00||Champagne: £60.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-2pm Mon-Sat 6.30-10pm (Fri-Sat -10.30pm)|
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Hidden among the unassuming foodie mecca of Smithfields, Farringdon, we arrived expecting a certain culinary standard and sure enough Club Gascon held such gastronomic distinction at its heart; indeed it talks of a certain love of food. Heralding from Southwest France, this established favourite is part of chef Pascal Aussignac’s small empire of similarly themed restaurants, this clearly the jewel among them.
On arrival our welcome was warm without the expected aloofness and whilst suitably decadent the atmosphere did leave us with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. It was missing the grandiose we anticipated of a Michelin star setting.
Our Chef’s taster menu began wit perfection h a series of punchy snapshots of flavour setting the scene for what would become an artistic display of kitchen chemistry. A delicate sea urchin sauce balanced well with simple cauliflower pulp and crisps. Foie Gras, a staple of the menu, was then combined intelligently with gingerbread and fir tree marmalade. The accompanying dessert wine, Domaine Rotier, Renassaince 2006, accentuated the dish still further. The sweeter notes a welcome foray mid-way through the meal and achieved with a certain calm confidence. The braised ox cheek, amalgamated with creamy avocado, was offset impeccably with zingy citrus and salty anchovy – again a technical delivery.
Mademoiselle Gluckman, enjoyed a vegetarian take on things with the kitchen remaining surprisingly accommodating considering its carnivorous French custom. Her braised artichoke came formulated to a level of quality we had at that point come to expect and again the escorting wine, she tells me, was passionately positioned by our sommelier in such a way it was always going to marry well.
Each dish also brought with it an entirely bespoke set of cutlery – pretty good going considering there were seven courses. In fact we were armed with a range of cutlery so vast we could have recreated the Battle of Agincourt with ease, something I chose not to suggest at the time.