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30 Charlotte Street
L’Etoile’s red upholstery and starched linen may have been replaced by muted tones and bare tabletops (and significantly fewer celebrity photographs), but after 120 years of operation, it’ll take more than an airy refurbishment to change this former showbiz darling’s ways. Food remains reassuringly weighty, meaty and old-school French. A starter of ‘rich fish soup’ was unarguably so: a filling signature dish with rouille, Parmesan and croûtons. To follow, a broth of ham hock, merguez sausage and pork belly had slightly tough meat, but roast guinea fowl boasted moist flesh and crisp skin, plus sides of smooth garlic mash and wickedly creamy cabbage and bacon. Desserts include ‘Black Forest chocolate decadence’ (an unexpectedly light brownie with fruits), and the wine list is heavily Gallic. Sadly, Elena Salvoni, the legendary nonagenarian host, died earlier this year, but the newly brightened L’Etoile shines on, offering solid French sustenance in cosseting, steady surroundings.
30 Charlotte Street
020 7636 7189
Goodge Street Tube Station 227m
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 417m
Contemporary Applied Arts 136m
Goodge Street 185m
Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm Mon-Sat 5-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
This place used to be a great haunt for PRs and journalists back in the 90s, when I last went there. I came here on a Monday lunchtime and found it very quiet – more waiters than diners. I came back to some of the atmosphere that existed back then, but sadly lacking now. Perhaps a victim of the financial crunch or perhaps everyone has gone elsewhere? This used to be an iconic Soho eatery. What's happened?
Food + drink: 1
My third and last visit to this time worn venue.I hadn't been for 2 years and this was my first evening visit. I didn't expect the place to be done up even Parisien restaurants decorate occasionally, the way to the toilets is quite unpleasant.
My colleague and I ordered 2 glasses of champagne and a bottle of '05 St Emillion at £43.25. I was asked to try the red wine whilst still drinking the Champagne but not shown the bottle. It was only later that I realised it was a far less special '06
My Roquefort tart starter was very bland but then we had to wait a long time for our mains. My lamb was far from warm and my colleague's had clearly been kept under a lamp for far too long and was dry. We couldn't complain at that point because no member of staff came near our end of the restaurant indeed at no point were we asked if we had enjoyed the food.Service was very variable 4 requests to order but then left for long gaps and my plate removed before my colleague had finished eating.
Desserts were fine. We asked about being served the wrong wine and the manager gave the following explanations, “had we checked the date on the bottle?”. “ Had we enjoyed it?” "we wouldn't get '06 cheaper anywhere else" "The '05 was very popular and that was why they had run out.
I pointed out that '05 was an exceptional vintage and is chaged at a premium, we should have been told it was not available and I expected a reduction, to which he shrugged and walked away.
When the bill arrived the manager stood over us in an intimidatory way while I checked the bill noting no reduction in the price of the wine or a refund.It took me a little while to spot he had not charged for the desserts and his crowing response had by then mitigated any benefit of the reduction. The reduction was also somewhat reduced by us being charged more than a half each for our share of the bill.
They didn't like being questioned about their service, didn't care what we thought about it and couldn't produce decent food . A previous reviewer said this place compared well with Parisien restaurants. Far cheaper places in Paris would provide a far better experience and be very concerned that you had a good evening. Elena's L'Etoile ruined ours.
Food + drink: 4
Square Meal Review on Etoile Restaurant
My husband and I recently decided to go for lunch in London we chose the “Elena’s Etoile” in Charlotte Street as it was French and we liked the look of the menu when we searched their website prior to booking. I don’t usually bother to write reviews but on this occasion I felt I must. The restaurant was full of old fashioned charm and character and the walls were covered in signed photographs of the many celebrities who have dined there over the years. The staffs were efficient and attentive without being too intrusive. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, I had a goats cheese and ham hock starter, my husband the Pea soup (he always has soup) this was followed by Gressingham duck with beetroot and sautéed baby gem hearts and Sea Bream. I had a Marquise chocolate dish which was beautifully presented and delicious, my husband had the Crème Brule. The ambiance was great lots of media types in deep conversations. I can definitely recommend this restaurant and I’m look forward to my next visit, whenever that may be?
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