Menagerie à trois | Les Trois Garçons, 1 Club Row, Shoreditch, London E1 6JX
Had the boys behind Les Trois Garçons featured on BBC2′s The Restaurant Man, we could imagine narrator and restaurateur Russell Norman would be left exasperated with his head in his hands. This kitsch and quirky restaurant has been going for fourteen years, it’s co-owned and founded by friends Hassan Abdullah, Michel Lasserre and Stefan Karlson. They bought the building which was a run-down Victorian pub to live in in the late 90s and dramatically revitalised it, throwing huge lavish dinner parties in the basement of the building. Everyone said they should start up a restaurant, so they did. They had no business plan, concept or restaurant experience. But it worked.
We visited on what started as a quiet Saturday night in the restaurant to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 40th. By 8pm every table was full. We ate surrounded by various stuffed animals, trinkets, even a centerpiece of hanging handbags, I thought the lava lamp style bubble light perched upon the bar was a step too far though. I don’t think this place could get any more camp or theatrical if it tried. Unfortunately due to the restaurant being a waiter down we had a long wait between courses, although I don’t think anyone really noticed as they were distracted by the wine, chat and a giraffe looming over our heads at our table. Plus the copious amounts of super soft sourdough in white and granary helped to keep us happy.
My starter of Sweetbread and crayfish spring roll on sesame dressed bean sprout salad had to be swapped with Ade’s Seared scallops with jerusalem artichokes and kumquat puree as I detected hidden cheese, thank god I have such a patient and understanding husband. He looked rather sad as I took away his scallops but luckily enjoyed his unplanned replacement. The earthy scallops and smoky artichoke were great with the punchy kumquat, simple but glorious cooking.
After what felt like a very long wait my 28 day aged Chateaubriand of Longhorn beef from the Lake District turned up. But a great cut of meat is one thing I don’t mind waiting for. When I read it was a dish to share between two I had a couple of concerns… Would my sister-in-law with whom I was sharing want it cooked to a crisp? Would it be presented as one dish and we have to fight over the last slither? Luckily she has some sense and agreed with medium rare, and we had a plate each, thank god. Another relief was the generous portion of slices of juicy tender meat. It was so perfect and bursting with flavour, amazing. Ade’s Spice cured venison fillet served with braised venison guo tie, savoy cabbage, char sui roasted and pureed beetroot with a Szechuan pepper jus was tender and cooked really well. The spiced cured meat and velvety smooth beetroot complimented each other perfectly.
We were working to a set menu (three courses for £49.50) and had to order desserts at the start before a single morsel of food passed out lips, always tricky. How are we going to know how full we are or what we fancy? Luckily my choice was a hit – Frozen coconut nougat with passionfruit coulis - fresh, light, fruity, simply gorgeous. Ade lucked out (my opinion, not his) and had a Cheese selection from Maitre Affineur, a brilliant selection of five artisan cheeses served with crisp crackers and delicate cheese puffs.
Les Trois Garçons is refreshingly different, especially for Shoreditch, I know it’s a winner because I am still thinking about that meat and that dessert a few weeks later.
1 Club Row, Shoreditch,
London E1 6JX
Telephone: 020 7613 1924
Opening hours: Lunch: Thursday and Friday 12:00 -14:00 pm
Dinner: Monday to Thursday 6.00 pm until 9.30 pm /
Friday and Saturday 6.00pm until 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays: Closed
Book a table online
Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street