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|Address:||36 Gloucester Road, London SW7 4QT|
|Tel:||020 3641 5809|
|Price: £66.00||Wine: £22.50||Champagne: £45.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-3pm 5.30-11pm (Fri-Sat -11.30pm Sun -10pm)|
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
£24.50 for a tablespoon of Risotto with few small chunks of King crab claw??? Somebody call the police, because i've been robbed! Its not often that i leave a restaurant with the feeling that i have been ripped-off, but lunch was nothing short of daylight robbery. Having vetted the menu online in advance, it really did look superb. French-Oriental fusion, boasting everything from your classic French beef tartare, using the finest Charolais beef to the more fusion Eastern dish of tuna tartare with a lightly spiced soya dressing. The list of starters (or Entrees if you're feeling French) were packed with exciting sounding dishes, that i couldn't wait to try. The main courses all sounded great, especially with a special section listing their house specialities and signature dishes, which I was very much looking forward to sinking my teeth into.
Staff are curteous enough and the restaurant is plush and comfortable. We open the menu and to my great disappointment, the menu is just a fraction of its online listing and i fear we have fallen victim to the dreaded “Reduced A La Carte” menu, that literally gives you a few choices in each section. We chose the tuna tartare, crispy chilli squid and the oysters. All three dishes were as you'd expect… perfectly good, but not anything extraordinary. I was more than satisfied, but wished that we were able to choose from the full menu, to have perhaps had the chance to try something more exciting.
The main course is really where my disappointment came. My friend ordered ‘Pyrenees Confit Shoulder of Lamb with Grilled Aubergine & Onion Chutney’ and i chose the exotic sounding ‘Roast King Crab, Yozu Kosho Butter with Crab & Chive Risotto’. I balked at the plate when it was placed in front of me… I couldn't believe how tiny the portion was, especially as my dish cost a hefty £8 more than my friends, so to see literally a few mouthfuls on my plate, disturbed me. £24.50 for 4 mouthfuls and not a dollop of Beluga caviar or white truffle in sight? Well its just wrong isnt it??!!! What i found quite hilarious was that the dipping sauce container, despite being just 2 inches squared, almost dwarfed the actual food entirely! Ok, so the risotto was good, there is no doubting that, but the crab was fiddly and i had to keep spitting shell and other inedible bits out, which really put me off and could have also been quite dangerous had i been less careful. For £24.50, you'd think they pay extra special attention to ensuring you don't choke on your food!
My friend said that his lamb dish was somewhat unspecial and that he had eaten better lamb in Morocco for just a couple of quid. I tried it for myself and whilst certainly more generous than my own portion, it was disappointing. The lamb lacked lustre and definitely needed some type of seasoning or marinade to uplift it. The aubergines consisted of two tiny baby aubergine halves that were each the size of your little finger. The onion marmalade (which had a bizarrely plastic neon yellow look about it) seemed to be the only thing that my friend actually thought special.
Perhaps L'Etranger is best suited to the waif-like ‘Yummy-Mummies’ of the surrounding Kensington and Chelsea neighbourhood, but personally i'm not quite ready to be forced to diet just yet; especially not when i get a bill of £50 per head for the pleasure! Nouvelle Cuisine is sooooo 1980's and i don't see a revival on the cards in my lifetime. Not if i can help it!