Sunday, 13 November 2011

Fun Bread, Fab Food and Pretty Prices–3 Great Set Lunches in London–Restaurant Reviews

Koffmann's Restaurant
Some of the best restaurants in London offer set lunches that are not just great food, but seriously good prices.  Gone are the days, at least here, when a set meal resulted in a couple of meagre courses and everything, including the bread was extra.  These three are full just about every lunch time (so don’t try without booking, particularly at this time of year) the food is very good, the ambiance is pleasant and you’ll be able to leave without breaking the bank.

Just a word about the bread.  Bread in restaurants has developed into something special in it’s own right, and I definitely look down my nose now at a restaurant that a) charges me extra and b) offers a few slices off the end of a baguette.  And let me tell you this is from someone who has to be pretty well forced to eat a piece of bread, anywhere.  However ‘fun bread’ is always interesting.  The winner of the bread prize of these three is without a doubt Koffmann’s, who have created a completely irresistible selection of breads including tomato bread and crusty cheese filled brioche (please don’t tell me that brioche shouldn’t be either crusty or have cheese in it), these breads are mouthwateringly good and I defy you to resist.

On to Koffmann’s, where the set lunch (2 courses, you can have 3) will set you back £26.00.  Pierre Koffmann, originally of Le Gavroche and the Waterside Inn in Bray, opened La Tante Claire in 1977, closing it in 2003 after his wife died.  Koffmann’s at The Berkeley Hotel opened in June 2010, to this review by Rachel Cooke of The Observer.  Go there as soon as you can.  The restaurant specialises in Gascon style food, beautifully served and always including his signature pig’s trotters which, of course, you do not have to feast on.
Franco’s is a totally different kettle of fish, where a 2 course lunch will set you back £26 for two courses (plus service charge).  In bustling Jermyn Street, where it’s been for over 60 years, when you book, and book early, you want to ask for a table upstairs.  The bread is simple but delicious, flat bread served with the best extra virgin olive oil, replenished with charm should you ask.  The set meal changes regularly and is always filled with strong flavours and interesting courses.  Franco’s is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and whatever you have at any time of day or night is beautifully presented.  One of my all time favourites, for its location, the food, the charm and, of course, the flat bread.
Finally on to Daphnes in Brompton Cross, where lunch will set you back £21.00 for two courses or £25 for three.  The least expensive of the three, but by no means the least special, Daphnes is an absolute must and again, you have to book in advance.  Offering modern/classic Italian cuisine, which Daphne’s has been serving for over 40 years, Daphne’s belongs to the same group as Le Caprice, Scotts and The Ivy.  In their set menu you’ll find such treats as truffle roasted Jerusalem artichokes with goat’s cheese, Salmon with mussels, chilli and spinach and, if you go for a desert, Amalfi lemon tart with Marscapone.  And excellent bread, of course.

With all of these three you need to book as far in advance as you can, they’re not impossible to get into, like some other London eateries, but they’re well known by their local clientele.  Coming up to Christmas of course they will be harder to book.  All of them you can book via their Home Page………..enjoy