A strangely calm European brasserie in the middle of Covent Garden, Le Deuxieme is one of the smarter restaurants in the area. A sort of pushing the boat out type of place, you know. For special occasions. And pay days. And theatre trips.
The dining room is understated. Bijou. White. Not all white everything, but mostly. Each table has a tiny plant too, so you know that this is a fancy kind of place. No one is under any illusions. Plants = fancy.
The menu isn’t quite as French as the name initially suggests, although there are of course snails with lashings of garlic butter available, if you’re so inclined. (The wine list is very French-biased, though).
To start we chose the Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Chorizo (£8.50). The scallops were excellent – perfectly cooked and great with the Cauliflower Puree and Chorizo… but is £8.50 a bit expensive for two scallops and two slices of chorizo? I think it may be…
Our other choice was a Warm Salad of Smoked Bacon, Black Pudding and Potato with a Soft Boiled Egg (£8.50)The warm salad was an odd one, kind of a fry up in salad form, something for the furiously unhealthy salad-eater. Strangely tasty, but a little greasy.
A main course of Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Courgette Tempura, Pineapple and Mango Salsa (£17.50) was chosen mostly because it sounded completely different to anything else on the menu, and it was quite an unusual thing, really. It scores points for presentation – pretty isn’t it?
The Pineapple and Mango Salsa tasted like summer, if summer had tiny bits of chilli floating about in it. The dish was let down slightly by tempura that didn’t quite have the required crunch, though.
Boy opted for Roasted Rump of Lamb with Gratin Dauphinois, Mint and Port Jus (£19.50), and was presented with a huge serving of perfectly cooked melt-in-the-mouth lamb and perfect Dauphinois. It didn’t taste at ALL like summer, but I’ll be honest, I was a bit jealous of this one.
The service (from our waiter) was faultless on our visit, although I have heard a few grumbles about surly staff when dining later in the evening (particularly post-theatre dining). However there was something a little troubling about the place, service-wise, and that, I’m afraid to say, was down to the scruffy chap I presumed to be the manager.
Although the restaurant was half empty, this silver haired monsieur insisted on standing bizarrely close to our table and staring at us for much of the meal. Off-putting, to say the least. Perhaps he thought we were attempting some kind of upmarket dine and run. A great injustice! I was far too full to run, anyway.
Tip: Try it out for a fraction of the cost with the fixed price menu, £14.50/16.50 for two/three courses. Le Deuxieme is also suitable for pre and post theatre dining.
The Verdict: Although pricey (really very pricey) the food at Le Deuxieme is fantastic, and the location is good. It was all let down slightly by the manager, though. Please would someone tell him it’s rude to stare.