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La Noisette Restaurant
La Noisette, London SW1
At the new La Noisette, discover la carte at £45 for three courses, and a "summer tasting menu" at £55. But the one the chef really wants you to order is the "inspirational menu" at £65, in which he creates your meal for you guided by "this morning's market or today's mood", adapting it to your own desires and needs.
More than 20 of these non-menu menus are ordered every night, and every one is different. You can try the almond gazpacho with smoked paprika shrimp and tomato sorbet; wild trout with English peas, beurre rouge and mustard emulsion; and salad of slow-cooked cod, Jabugo ham and squid.
The dashing young chef-patron, Bjorn van der Horst, was head chef of the Picholine and then Gaia in Manhattan, before moving here with the Marc group to reopen the Greenhouse, where he worked his way into one Michelin star and was heading for another. He then linked up with Gordon Ramsay, in order to set up shop in Sloane Street .
A taster of the menu:
pastry sticks with sumac-dusted labne (yoghurt cheese) and picholine olives
warm and satiny artichoke veloute
crisp, savoury cone filled with a tomato fondue, sorbet and espuma
"poule au pot" of tender, succulent pieces of poached chicken sitting in jelly and set in a neat, lidded French white terrine, topped with rich, lush, salt-cured foie gras and finished with celery leaves and baby rock chives, with a pile of still-warm toast wedges on the side.
watermelon "carpaccio" topped with pinches of light, curdy, goat's milk feta, rocket and a crisp beignet of courgette flower
grilled red mullet fillets with tapenade and tubes of feather-light ricotta gnocchi
fromage blanc soufflé with toasted almond ice cream
Try Parisian sommelier Fabrice Hequet's wine list, with a good showing from Austria, Germany and Alsace.
La Noisette, 164 Sloane Street, London SW1, tel: 020 7750 5000. Lunch served Monday to Friday; dinner served Monday to Saturday. Around £170 for two including wine and service
Other French restaurants
L'Ortolan Church Lane, Shinfield, Berkshire, tel: 0118 988 8500 The ortolan is a small bird, traditionally roasted on skewers in Landes. You will find foie gras with pain d'épices and suckling pig with herbed gnocchi on the menu.
La Poule Au Pot 231 Ebury Street, London SW1, tel: 020 7730 7763 French kitsch, candle-lit romance and bistro cooking.
Souffle 31 The Green, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent, tel: 01622 737 065 Nick Everden's popular restaurant set in a 16th-century cottage overlooking the village green Pan-fried scallops, herb-crusted salmon - and soufflé.
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