We have now been to Augustine Kitchen on five different occasions for lunch. Except for a minor lack of seasoning in a squash soup in the autumn last year, every dish has been wonderful.
We have been greeted warmly on each occasion and been made to feel immediately at home and relaxed.
The restaurant is bright and airy and decorated with delightful personal memorabilia from Chef/Patron Franck's childhood in the Evian Region of France with delightful grainy vintage photographic images of his Grandmother and cooking mentor Augustine and various uncles and village folk. These are artistically scattered over a full length chalk board on which the menu of the day, little captions to the images, anecdotes and other information is hand written.
The little bar is well stocked, particularly with interesting Cognac's,Armagnac's and a selected range of Malt Whiskies (always a good sign) and other various “digestifs”.
The tables are well spaced for a small “sallle” and impeccably set with pressed linen napkins, sparkling glasses and good heavy silverware. It is understated and quietly classy, we felt immediately at home and slightly privileged.
The menu and wine list are both reassuringly small, with good variety and very well edited .
Whilst looking through them we were served with excellent, warm home made small banquette style bread with a real crunch to the crust and proper flavour, bite and moisture inside, served with delicious creamy salty butter.
We have now ordered both the A la Carte and from the menu. We have never been disappointed.
Generally we take the daily menu which must be amongst the very best “qualite prix” deals in London. At just under £10, one can select from two starters and two main courses.
All the selection of ingredients, menu choice, preparation and cooking are done by Franck himself.
The ingredients are fresh, the portions ridiculously generous for a fixed price menu and they invariably look and taste as though he has just prepared it for you alone.
There are great touches like sautéed wild mushrooms with grilled chicken, lardons in the sauté potatoes and sauces tend to be well reduced and richly flavoured without being sticky or overpowering. The dishes generally have colour and texture. The “Pommes Dauphinoise” are rich and creamy and it is worth a visit for them alone!
We have variously ordered fish, chicken, veal and beef prepared and cooked in various different ways and always been delighted.
Patron Franck has usually popped up from his kitchen to chat about our meal and one can feel his pride and passion, on this last occasion he brought us up a little plate of smoked “Fera” (sp?) a lake fish found in his home region around Evian. Presented as beautifully as a sushi chef may have done and brought to us with a smile and enthusiasm. It was not yet on his menu, but I will certainly try it next time, if he has it. Such a treat.
Augustine's only opened late last year, but we honestly think it will become a cult destination place. There are few local
London restaurants where the style, quality and service are so natural. Better still it all comes at a price that makes you feel comfortable, a little spoilt and keen to return.