My recent trip to Paris opened my eyes to just a few local delicacies. As much as I could fit in in the 8 hours, around sightseeing. Four food stops to be precise. I wasn’t quite ready to let the french cuisine fade into memories when we set foot back on London turf. I hadn’t tried anywhere near enough, which definitely means a trip back, for sure. But it also means seeking out the authentic Parisian restaurants right here in London too.
Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte, is precisely one of those. Originating in Paris, the restaurant now has seven stores worldwide, including in New York and Mexico. The recipes, concept and most importantly, the secret sauce still coming from what it all started, in the city of romance.
The Soho branch is beautiful inside. Murals on the walls, dark woods and coloured table cloths, it didn’t feel like the middle of Dean Street at all. Atmosphere was on the brink of sophisticated, yet relaxed and friendly. It was a great spot for a Sunday evening. I’m not usually one to go out on Sunday evenings, but I’d definitely be tempted again for places like this.
The menu itself is simple. There’s just one set menu consisting of a dressed green salad with walnuts to start, and steak frites for main. Of course you get the choice of how the steak is cooked. But there’s no intermediary between levels; blue, rare, medium, well done. No fuss.
The drinks menu is more extensive, with plenty of wine and champagne choices. Red was a no brainer. You can’t have anything else with steak. Especially when you can get a half size bottle of house red for just under £10.
The wine itself was medium bodied, slightly oaked in taste. It wasn’t too heavy. It complimented the steak well.
The steak in question was perfectly cooked. Mine rare, Alex’s medium, we were both impressed by the finish. It was flavoursome and delicious. Just the right amount of pink on the first serving. Yes, there’s more steak per portion than is first served. Something we weren’t expecting.
The only accompaniment is frites. Crispy, thin fries. Enough fluff, plenty of crisp. They were a pretty good accompaniment for even the un-chip-iest of people. Me. We did save a bit of salad from the starter too, as I can’t have a meal without veg/green/colour of some sort.
The salad was delicious. Fresh green leaves, a creamy mustard dressing and crunchy walnuts it wasn’t overly filling, and the mustard flavour combined the two courses well. Hence why it’s good to keep some for the main. Or even order all together. Something I’d definitely do next time!
The sauce. Well. That’s another thing altogether. Desperately trying to decipher if it was peppery, more mushroom and creamy or more like a chip shop curry sauce, it was the topic of conversation for part of the meal. I even asked the restaurant team. They couldn’t tell me because even the chef in the Soho branch apparently doesn’t know. It comes straight from Paris in an unlabelled bottle. Truly a secret recipe.
When you’re almost finished your first plate the team tops you up. This is where the remaining steak comes in, more frites and sauce too. All still hot, the steak only slightly more cooked from being on the hot plate. Definitely more food than I expected from a fancy restaurant.
Even if you’re full, it’d be rude not to look at the dessert menu. Especially when it’s SO extensive. There’s over 15 options, featuring profiteroles and Gateau de Relais.
It does need a little deciphering for those not fluent in French. But the team is more than willing to answer questions. Google is a great source too.
The blackcurrant sorbet comes as two scoops. With creamy, indulgent vanilla ice cream and strong blackcurrant liqueur, it was absolutely delicious. A sorbet dish like no other.
The profiteroles were a must being a traditional french sweet. Filled with ice cream, the little sweet choux pastry balls were sat in a dark chocolate sauce and sprinkled with flaked almonds. The vanilla ice cream balanced out the strong bitterness of the chocolate. I wouldn’t usually go for profiteroles, not being a cream fan. But with ice cream, they’re a must order!
I’d highly recommend sharing desserts, even if you share two. It’s worth squeezing it in, and trying more than one!
There are dessert drinks too, if you fancy a coffee or sweet wine. The wine in question arriving in a tiny glass, sweet to taste and a delicious end to the meal.
- Price: At just over £80 for three courses for two, with red wine, sweet wine and dessert, it’s pretty average for dinner in Soho.
- Food: The steak is beautifully cooked, there’s plenty of food, and the sauce is something else.
- Drinks: Plenty of wine and fizz options, including half bottles. The sweet wine is a must with dessert.
- Atmosphere: On the brink of sophisticated, yet relaxed and friendly.
- Wait: There didn’t seem to be a wait on a Sunday evening. The wait between courses wasn’t that long either.
Have you been to Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte before? Where do you go for Parisian/french cuisine here in the UK?
*I was invited along to try the menu at Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte. All views my own.