La Poule au Pot 1

231 Ebury Street , London, SW1W 8UT

10 reviews

54 French Belgravia

  • La Poule au Pot
  • La Poule au Pot

SquareMeal Review of La Poule au Pot

A restaurant like they used to make ’em, this blushing rose has been fluttering its eyelashes at customers for more than half a century – “it’s so French and so very romantic”, drools one long-time fan. With a quiet terrace for balmy evenings and a bare-brick interior filled with bushels of dried herbs, flowers and twinkly candles, La Poule au Pot has built up a charming patina over the years – half of London’s ladies and gents must have been here for dates, liaisons and family get-togethers. The menu is as predictably Gallic as the waiters’ accents (think soupe à l’oignon and escargots ahead of bouillabaisse, boeuf bourguignon and magret de canard with foie gras), but the cooking has always been good enough to warrant the fondness it engenders. To drink, the house wine (poured from a magnum) is fine, but prospective fathers-in-law prefer the posh Champagnes and clarets.

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6.5

Food & Drink: 6.1

Service: 6.1

Atmosphere: 8.3

Value: 5.6

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Toby G. 04 February 2013

La Poule au Pot – a delightful French bistro and a firm favourite of ours. Perfect for a relaxed weekend lunch, whiling away the day with friends over good food and wine. We'd happily recommend it to friends and family, and we've brought both here on previous occasions. Good, solid, French classic dishes served in a charming, relaxed, informal, cosy, quirkily rustic setting. We've been coming here for about 6 years. My wife and I recently went for lunch on a Saturday in January and we were yet again charmed. Venison terrine and steak frites; onion tart and cassoulet. We could only wonder why we'd left it so long since our last visit to La Poule. Overall, it's a winner. Vive la France. Vive la Poule au Pot.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

BoatLady platinum reviewer 09 January 2013

The first Monday “back at school” in January and, despite healthy New Year's Resolutions and Christmas-induced poverty, Poule-au-Pot is rammed and there's no better recommendation than that. This place always seems to be busy, yet the maitre d' usually manages to find a table to squeeze a few hopeful girls in. And a squeeze it is, as the tables are really squashed together wherever they can shoe-horn them in. But it all adds to the atmosphere which is lively, shambolic, chic and traditional all at the same time. It feels like a locals place for the Chelsea crowd (pre-Made in Chelsea, pre-Russian oligarchs). The menu is all very classic French, with a “We've been doing this for years, why change a winning formula?” feel. And why indeed. Perhaps because my signature dish, the poule-au-pot, was nothing to write a blog about: a fat chunk of chicken in a light broth with a few hunks of al dente veg floating about. Nothing innovative or exciting in the flavours. But then this is simple country cooking at its best and sticks its nose up at modern ideas so who can blame them? My friend's coq au vin was apparently more flavoursome and the duck looked good too although again both were rather conventional dishes. I had a delicious tarte tatine to finish whilst the other 2 shared a cheeseplate. Service is impeccable: the gallic waiters all seem to have a twinkle in their eyes and they're charming in a way only the Continental manage to be. Watch out for their cunning house wine policy if, like us, you can't be bothered to read the whole wine list and trust that French house is generally quaffable: they serve it by the glass. But the glass comes from a Magnum bottle. Which they leave on your table for you to help yourself. You will need all your New Year's willpower not to end up with 10 glasses on the bill as we did. Yes, it's Old School rather than Nu School but at £45 a head I think it was money well spent. Straight to the top of the class.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Julia P. 19 July 2012

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of being taken to lunch at Le Poule au Pot. It was certainly one of the best lunches I have had in a long time. The onion tarte was wonderful; perfect pastry and deliciously caramelised onions. I then followed with chicken breast in tarragon sauce and the breast was moist and the sauce ideally seasoned with not too much tarragon. Being a greedy mare, and on the recommendation of my host, I then had the creme brulee which was just yummy. Two bottles of Pouilly Fusee later and I was thoroughly happy with my lunch! The service was prompt, polite and efficient. Our waiter had a lovely twinkle in his eye and was unobtrusive when attending the table to pour more wine. The atmosphere and decor were intimate but fun. The I loved it and can't wait to go back!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 04 March 2012

A little piece of France in London. Book early and don't be surprised if they're full… The food is excellent and the choice of wine is wide ranging but it's the atmosphere which makes this place so special.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Jessica A. 28 January 2012

The manager here is one of the most arrogant and rude individuals I've ever met! He was openly swearing at his waiters in front of us, which is not acceptable behaviour. He shouted at my table for signing happy birthday to a friend and he absolutely ruined our meal. The restaurant is so pretty , the food is ok ( although I've had better food in other French bistros in London ) and it could be a fabulous establishment to eat in. However the manager here would probably be better suited bullying his staff and patrons at a wrestling match, NOT managing a supposedly nice restaurant! Very disappointing, I urge you not to bother going.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Philip H. 06 January 2012

I have been going to La Poule au Pot on and off (probably annually on average) for years and it's like many frustrating things in life – you anticipate it with relish only to be let down by the reality. Presumably the gaps between my visits are as long as it takes me to forget the bad and hang on to the delusion of proper French charm and quality. The good bits tend to be the starters and desserts. Deserving special mention, the quiche a l'oignon, the tarte tatin and the creme brulee are all bistro staples beautifully and simply executed. But the main courses are another matter. The steak frites, should be another classic and the essential meaure by which a bistro is judged, but here for two of the party the beef was tough and over-cooked and the frites were chunky chips. I had pheasant which was also very tough, and almost impossible to cut. Really poor. The other main downside is the service… it can take ages to be noticed or served (and there were five of us on the most recent visit – so we were quite visible). There is nothing ‘charmingly aloof about the waiters’ – they were perfectly friendly, but inattentive.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 0.0

K G. 02 April 2011

I had wanted to try La Poule au Pot for well over a year. An opportunity finally arose but MAN was I disappointed. It was like Epcot had come to Pimlico – all atmosphere an NO true, authentic delivery. The design of the restaurant is charming and seduces you immediately into sweet expectation of the food to come. But then they bring you around a choice of brown or white bread served out of a big basket and it is here where the nightmare begins. This restaurant can't be owned and run by the French…the bread is dense, mush American style. The escargots devoid of that beautiful garlic and parsley yummyness that you salivate for but replaced with a disgusting, off, bitter fishness that I have NEVER tasted in an escargot. When I apologetically told the waiter 'Ils ne sont pas bons, I got a shrug and a On va dire le chef. We waited in fear for our main meals. I ordered le Lapin au moutarde and my daughter le Coq au vin and they were, at best, ok. Not much flavour, but give them points for being hot. Shame me for expecting decent renditions of these French classics in a French restaurant – what was I thinking? Third time lucky we thought? How bad could the chocolate mousse be? OMG!!! Anyone could have made it better, again terrible texture and insipid. The coffee was even less than you would expect from an establishment Francais. I am so sorry this was a bad experience. It made my blood boil that this restaurant is posing as providing quality French classics, those recipes that we have come to know, love and be comforted by.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Annie F. 01 February 2011

Poor Stephanie! She either got out of bed on the wrong side or is very unlucky. I have been eating at la Poule au Pot for more years than I care to remember and can honestly say that I have never had an experience such as hers. In general I have found the service charming and attentive with the odd hiccup when they are very busy but never disturbing. The food whilst not Michlin star cooking has always delivered, as promised, classic French bistro/brasserie dishes executed to a high standard. It is not cheap, however the quality of the ingredients and the size of the portions result in what I consider to be good value for money. Ignor the detractors and try it for yourselves.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Stephanie K. 14 November 2010

I hadn't been in many years and decided to visit again with some friends. It was certainly nothing like I remembered it! The service was generally dire – we had to ask repeatedly for water, glasses, etc. I had the mushroom soup to start which was reasonably good, followed by the tuna which I asked to be “grillee au point” – it arrived cooked completely through. No one thought to take the time to ask us how our food was and gaining the attention of any of the staff was difficult at best. The creme brulee I ordered would have been the redeeming point of the evening – it was indeed excellent – however, by this time the food poisoning (I suspect from the tuna) had started to set in and I had to excuse myself to head to the loo. I then managed to make it home to spend the better part of the night in the toilet. My husband asked to speak to the manager before leaving to alert him to the fact that something I'd eaten was off as to avoid any other patrons taking ill. He made a huge show of taking down our details, telling him that he'd ring the following day to see how I was doing – not surprisingly, no call was received. Needless to say I have no intention of returning any time soon!

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Eloise H. 04 October 2010

I have been going to La Poule au Pot for the last ten years but had not been for 12 months, I was worried by the reviews I read on here ahead of my visit last weekend but decided to go and see for myself…I was not disappointed from the service I received when booking to when I arrived at the restaurant, we had a great table, the service was excellent and the atmosphere (which is, undoubtedly, its main draw) was as intimate and charming as always. The restaurant was buzzing and there was not an empty table. The food we had the fish soup and the foie gras to start followed by the duck and the steak were all very good. I will definitely be going back and will be telling others to not be put off by bad write ups…

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