Saturday 2 May 2015

Following a visit to see the new production of Miss Saigon – still a very touching production we wandered along to Mon Plaisir – we were in company with a number of friends and consequently the financial implications needed to be kept under control unlike some of our other excursions but one or two of those participating indicated they had never really eaten “French” food – so it seemed a sensible choice.

The menu of the month has about four choices for each course and costs £25 for three courses plus 12.5% service.  We had a coffee, some wine and the bill once divided up came to £86 for two of us (it varied as others did not have coffee or drinks – ours was the upper end of the range).  So in reality it was modest for us.

A little explanation was needed for those not used to eating French food – the explanation that the billed “Terrine de Campagne Maison aux Champignons” was a paté was adequate information for it to be selected by a number of those participating.  One of our number needs gluten free bread and this had been advised in advance.  Although the waitress did not know about it in fact the kitchen were prepared and some better looking bread arrived – which had been warmed.  SO initial sticky moment overcome with typical flair.

In keeping with the French leaning I opened with six snails; around me my fellow diners had a variety of some rather nice looking marinated salmon on one side and a rather good looking mushroom coutry terrine on the other.  None of diners really noticed the snails – lovely and garlicy – that will keep the vampires at bay I thought to myself, soaking up the sauce with some “ordinary” bread of which there was a decent supply.  And I note that the other plates are all rapidly emptied as well.  Good start here.

On the mains the diners avoided the sea bass but the other choices of guinea fowl, salmon and cassoulet of duck leg were all on the table.  I had chosen the latter and was disappointed, not in the duck which was good, perhaps slightly dry, but tasty but the accompanying bean cassoulet.  Sadly this seemed to be largely formulated from baked beans in a tomato sauce which is a long way from the thick bean cassoulet stew I had been anticipating (having eaten the same in the South of France some years ago).  And my wife confirmed my fears – the sauce was sweet so I could not eat it.  The salmon looked to be very good and again plates emptied around me.

Being a French restaurant the final course for me was an easy choice with no need to see the menu – three cheeses.  A stand appeared at my elbow and shortly thereafter a tray wafted pleasing smells all around us.  A hard sheep’s cheese, some Epoisse and some forme d’ambert from the much wider selection and I could almost be in France.  Being a kind person I ate about half of each of the cheeses (which were in good eating condition) into about 4 pieces and passed the plate down the table to allow the others the opportunity to try them.  Around the rest of the table a selection of tart tatin, creme brulée and tart of the day (strawberry) were being completely consumed.

Our non-French-food consumers were all won over.  Quality generally excellent and leaving aside my slight disappointment over the cassoulet everyone was extremely happy.  We would not have taken our friends there if we would not recommend the place and it is possible to eat for even less on the pre-theatre menu; so prices for this part of London are well controlled.  Needless to say if asked I would recommend it.