L'Etranger 22

36 Gloucester Road , London, SW7 4QT

10 reviews

66 French South Kensington

L'Etranger

SquareMeal Review of L'Etranger

Now approaching its 15th birthday, L’Etranger can feel a little like a throwback to a different time; a pre-recession era when restaurants were moody (note the chain-mail curtains and black leather banquettes), fusion food was the rage and the fizz flowed freely. Yet while most of its early-noughties contemporaries have all fallen by the wayside, this place continues to thrive, thanks to the excellence – and originality – of its Franco-Asian menu. The creation of executive chef/co-owner Jérôme Tauvron, it melds the classicism and finesse you’d expect of France with vibrant flavours from the orient (especially Japan). From a trilogy of Colchester rock oysters or a starter of Charolais beef tartare with quail’s egg and summo polenta chips, via pots of Iranian beluga caviar, to the signature caramelised Alaskan black cod with miso and sushi rice, this is an experience geared towards luxury. Champagnes take up seven pages on the 1,600-strong wine list. What credit crunch?

Former Champagne List of the Year

A classical Champagne list, made up mostly of grandes marques. L’Etranger arranges its Champagnes by label, with a staggering selection of styles and formats from a range of great names – including Ruinart, Dom Pérignon (14 vintages), Krug, and Salon. A (wealthy) fizz-lover’s paradise.

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6.2

Food & Drink: 6.8

Service: 5.6

Atmosphere: 6.9

Value: 5.1

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Phil R. 30 May 2015

This used to be a favourite of ours with unique food and great service. But that's changed. The black cod, which was always the signature dish, tastes like its made from frozen and had bones in it. We had to ask for the napkins and the bread to be brought to table, and the sommelier really had no original ideas which is what differentiated this place in the past. Perhaps there's been a change of management, but the restaurant has lost its charm. We won't be back!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

GH platinum reviewer 07 November 2013

Excellent blend of French and Japanese cuisine! Small enough to feel intimate but not intrusive. Good wine list.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

GH platinum reviewer 16 July 2013

Interesting mixture of food between French and Japanese. Quality of food was fresh- the squid, Chilean sea bass, smoked duck all were very good. Service was fine. Good champagne/wine list.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Amrita D. bronze reviewer 05 June 2013

I might have been a bit starry-eyed, as we were celebrating, but enjoying your food and the ambience is what matters in a restaurant. My steak was perfect and just the right size for me. The wine sparkled brighter and the conversation flowed. The earl grey ice cream was the strangest ice cream I'd ever had but it melted in the mouth and was pure bliss. In retrospect, now that the stars are a memory, it was quite an expensive meal. But that is what you expect from fine dining. The chef managed to excite our palate, the wine impressed us the prices shocked us (Next time I'll just have sparkling water.)! Although the staff were a little hurried they managed to serve us quite efficiently. The reason for the hurry and scurry were the couple at the table beside us, who we couldn't help but notice. They ordered 14 dishes including sushi, steak, dessert and wines, they were still eating when we left!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

London Gourmet platinum reviewer 28 January 2013

A fantastic wine offering – but be prepared to pay for it (but if you do you're in for a treat). Good food albeit the menu can be confusing for some with its mixture of both asian/japaneese courses and modern european ones all part of the offering

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 0.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 21 February 2012

Do you know the feeling to really “want to like a place”? Well that was my approach when first going to l'Étranger. The space is not all bad, but it is darker and smaller than it looks from the street. The much raved-about wine list really is quite long but prices are nothing short of astronomical. Then came the food. Over engineered, over hived severely over priced and an absolute and utter failure. It was so grotesquely bad that it was difficult to comprehend. Tiny portions come with the nouvelle cuisine (although this is actually rather “fusion cusine”), so no surprise here, but there were both technical shortcomings and poorly sourced ingredients topped of by a clear “we don't care” attitude. It is then, given the shockingly low quality of the food, even more difficult to remind oneself that this is a £200 for two restaurant.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Geraldine G. 25 July 2011

I had dinner at L'etranger with a few friends last Saturday and we had a great time! Were were lucky enough to have a table in their beautiful wine cellar! The menu was so tempting that we decided to share a selection of starters : roasted scallops with Parmesan puree, Beef Tartare, a selection of sashimis, but the best dish was probably the Tuna Tataki with foie gras shavings! I then went for the fillet steak which was cooked to perfection and finished with an amazing passion fruit souffle! The service was very attentive, and the sommelier recommended us great wines matching our food! Will certainly return!!!

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Peter M. 07 July 2010

Woefully poor service, notably from the sommelier, who clearly didn't think we were ‘serious’ enough and not only ignored us but when he was at the table spilled wine with a Fawlty Towers level of incompetence. Hw was so spectacularly useless i can't remember what we ate but it was ok.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 0.0

Sabrina's Passions platinum reviewer 02 July 2010

£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!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Michael B. 06 June 2010

Great restaurant for ambiance and the food is fantastic. Sadly despite the efforts of all staff and management the Somelier was (again) awful. This is the 4th time we dined there and on each occasion he has proved to be rude and sloppy whilst pouring wine with splashed all over the table cloth. I guess ordering any wine under £100/bottle upsets the guy. We complained to the manager at his attidude again on this occassion and were advised that an alternative Solmelier had been recruited to assit this one. We were subsequently served by the new one who was great. As if to add insult to injury our wine bill included 4 glasses fo Champagne at £58 which we did not order or receive – check your bill.

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