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L’Etoile’s red upholstery and starched linen may have been replaced by muted tones and bare tabletops (and significantly fewer celebrity photographs), but after 120 years of operation, it’ll take more than an airy refurbishment to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.
020 7636 7189
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