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Food / Wine

Promenade gourmande au Flâneur

By Charlotte Reverse

George Bernard Shaw once said that 'there is no love sincerer than the love of food' and there is no restaurant that better exemplifies this alimentary devotion than the Flâneur.
  A cross between a delicatessen and a restaurant, the Flâneur is a peculiar hybrid, which goes some way to explaining its allure. In this weird and wonderful land of plenty, grocery shopping can be combined with an evening meal at one of the tables set for dinner amid the food displays.

Chocolate from Tuscany, jam from Saint-Léger-Vauban and peanut butter from Virginia - the rows of labels are an eloquent travelogue charting episodes in a voyage of discovery made by the restaurant's owners. Before launching their business in 2001, Gavin Monk and his colleague Zeenat Anjari scoured Europe and a good part of the States in search of local markets where they hunted down the very best produce. They returned a year later with a list of 3000 delicacies, including Seabrooks crisps, a Yorkshire brand that is virtually impossible to come by in the rest of Britain.

  The restaurant menu changes daily allowing chef, Simon Phelan (formerly of Nicole's, New Bond Street) the freedom to improvise with the produce delivered on that day. On the A la Carte menu this Tuesday 4th October there is a choice of smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes served with spinach and beurre blanc or chicken breasts served with fennel, shallots and spinach in a red wine sauce. The fish and seafood are particularly well prepared. The braised scallops on a bed of julienne vegetables melt in the mouth leaving that unmistakeable sweet nutty after-taste. Delicious! For dessert, try the house speciality: moist chocolate cake served with a bowl of whipped cream. Although situated ten minutes from the City, the Flâneur's location is remarkably peaceful. Seated on one the restaurant's signature high-backed chairs, diners can enjoy a meal in a calm, restful atmosphere, undisturbed by the noise of background music. The chairs, custom-designed by Gavin Monk and made of pale wood, give the place a fairy-tale quality. If you drop in at the Flâneur for brunch you could be excused for feeling a little like the infamous 'flâneuse' Goldilocks sitting down to her serendipitous breakfast, looking slightly dwarfed by the oversized furniture!
  Why not take a leaf from her book and tarry a while in this gastronomic fairyland?

Allow between £25 and £30 for three courses, excluding wine.

  Some of the products available at the Flâneur:
"La Trinquelinette" jam from St-Léger-Vauban (France)
"Slitti" chocolate (Italy)
Caponi egg pasta (Italy)
Cheese made by the Alléosse family (France)
Seabrooks crisps (UK)
Southern Alps Muesli (New Zealand)
Whitley's peanut butter (USA)
Guénard oil (France)
Cakes and pastries made by Wendy Armah including her speciality moist chocolate cake, carrot cake and banana and caramel cake.

Flâneur 41 Farringdon Road London, EC1M 3JB Tel : 020 7404 4422


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