L’etranger is located in the beautiful area of Gloucester Road; it serves up the unconventional combination of French food with Japanese influence. The setting, ambience, lighting, décor, cutlery and even the serving dishes are all impressive. Every aspect has been thought about here for their diners to ensure they have a pleasant experience.
Now I know you are maybe thinking that a fine dining restaurant implies small portion sizes, but fortunately this was not the case here. If you match up a starter and main or main and dessert, you should be satisfied.
The starters we stuck into was the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Truffle & Chestnut and North Sea Crispy Squid with Chilli & Spring Onion.
The artichoke was the striking flavour in the soup; smooth and light. It was a nice surprise to have crispy chestnut pieces within it. It was an unusual tasting starter and most probably would not order it again; it is an acquired taste. I would recommend venturing for a starter dish which is more substantial. Unfortunately the tofu starter I actually wanted was unavailable. The second starter my foodie buddy was eating was the crispy squid, which I ate most of (I could not help it, it was so delicious!). This consisted of small squid pieces compared to what you conventionally get in restaurants; this was slightly crispy and the batter had not fully cooked through, which gave the dish a smoky paprika flavour and nice soft texture. The chilli dip was delectably spicy and tasted fresh (unusual indeed!). I would definitely recommend this dish!
Now to the mains! I opted in for the Papillote of Winter Vegetables & Forest Mushrooms.
It was served wrapped up in parcel of roasting paper. I had a feeling this
would not be enough on its’ own so selected a side of Roast Aubergine with Ginger, Chilli & Cashew Nuts. The vegetables were cooked perfectly with a bit of bite! The taste of rosemary immersed the dish and was not too overpowering; without the aubergine this dish would have been disappointing, as it complimented this dish perfectly. Next time I will definitely try a fish dish.
My foodie buddy had the Confit Pyrenées Lamb Shoulder, Grilled Vegetables & Aubergine Caviar.
They said the meat was so succulent, tender and delicious. They hardly talked the whole time upon receiving our main courses and demolished it! This indicated that the dish was a major hit! Unfortunately I cannot comment on this, but as you can see the dish was presented immaculately.
Overall, L’etranger is one to add to the bucket list; the service, setting and aspects of the fine food were divine. However for any vegetarians out there – I would not recommend it only as the vegetarian selection is limited. This restaurant is perfect for that special occasion, without racking up a hefty bill (well…unless you tuck into the huge list of wines!).
What is even better is if you want to relax for a drink afterwards; downstairs there is a sophisticated wine bar area called Meursault with comfortable seating; I will definitely be back for that!
Now time for the LKL Foodie Adventure scores:
Food Presentation: 4
Venue & Atomsphere: 4.5
Value For Money: 3
Total Score: 19.5/25
Let us know your thoughts about L’etranger and tweet us @LondonKiLadki.
Photo Source: London Ki Ladki, Google Plus and Design My Night.