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|Address:||40-42 William IV Street, Strand, London WC2N 4DD|
|Tel:||020 3551 9854|
|Price: £40.00||Wine: £17.50||Champagne: £59.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-11pm Sun 11am-6pm|
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Hot on the heels of Arbutus and Wild Honey, Michelin-starred Anthony Demetre and Will Smith have opened this ‘omage to Parisian grand cafes at a time when people want to eat well but are still too terrified to part with their hard-earned cash. Moreover, Les Deux Salons is great for the self-esteem. With a vast mosaic-clad space and gleaming brass rails, it’s large enough to make a sweeping entrance, even if you do turn up in jeans and a T-shirt for a quick supper on the way to The Lion King or Les Mis.
But you wouldn’t want to. Despite being parked in the middle of Touristville, Les Deux Salons makes you feel like the star. The waiting staff behave as if they’re perfectly delighted to see you, plus they know the menu. They’ll tell you what they like and don’t like and they’ll gladly recommend wines that aren’t going to scramble your nest egg; they’ll even go so far as to suggest you order a carafe rather than a bottle. They make you feel like you matter and should be treated as such. Actually, the waiting staff at Les Deux Salons would probably make rather good accountants.
The menu is deceptively simple. Hot dogs share the stage with snail and bacon pie, poached egg and mushrooms on toasted brioche with Andouillette de Troyes and mustard sauce with fries. We started with oysters and the snail and bacon pie, all beautifully palate-pleasing and washed down with a carafe of Grenache Viognier. Then things got meatier and we opted for the steak frites, which comes with a deliciously dark shallot sauce, and the slow-cooked shoulder of Welsh lamb – so slow that the meat practically fell off the bone in goal-worthy slow motion. Another carafe arrived, this time with a suitably beefy Puy Blanquet. Desserts are no less impressive – Gateau Opera, a delectable finger of layered chocolate, hazelnut and coffee – and, no sniggering please, a Paris-Brest oozing with an almost pornographic filling of praline cream.
There’s even more good news. You can actually book a table (wow, we hear you say, what’s that?) at Les Deux Salons – and greater joy still, you aren’t kicked off your seat after one-and-a-half hours.
Perfect for a celebration – or not, Les Deux Salons positively encourages the loosening of your belt. In more ways than one.