Club Gascon ★ // The City // London

For more than 11 years, chef-patron Pascal Aussignac has been building his culinary reputation around The City. His first venture was Club Gascon, which has since extended to the Cellar Gascon, the Comptoir Gascon and Baranis, tucked-in behind the Royal Courts of Justice.

At the Club, Aussigac showcases seasonal produce through his marché menu, though it’s not just the produce which is exceptional. Aussignac has a real flair for presenting beautiful, artistic plates. But better than that, he gives diners that special feeling that’s hard to come by in competitive London. His surprising technique and often challenging use of flavour shows his desire to push the boundaries of his current *1 star.

The spring herb panna-cotta is a thought provoking start to the menu. Soft and luxurious, it sits at the bottom of the bowl, revealed once you sink your spoon in beneath an urchin jus. Not a common ingredient on a British menu, the urchin has a deep, iodine flavour with a background of sweetness. The creaminess of the Catalan with this unusual taste of the sea gives a rich finish to the intense foam. Texture comes from charred-grilled roasted onions, with a balancing earthy touch.

The sea trout, which has been smoked with tea and violet is a fantastic example of Aussigac’s artistry. It’s one of those plates that you’re just pleased to look at for a few minutes before you ruin it with your cutlery. The fish simply melts. Certainly slow cooked, the silky texture just spreads with the slightest force of a knife. Even better, it tastes magnificent with the smoke and hint of violet. The citrus gels and the pickles lighten-up this stand out dish, with the deep, luscious teriyaki style sauce rounding things-off.

The main course of roasted guinea fowl is exceptional too. A slice of breast meat is as tender and moist as you will have ever had, and the ballotine of dark meat is slightly pink and packed with flavour. Sauces are also incredible, with a visually beautiful mix of mustard yellow and roasted garlic black. The elderflower glazed chicory gives a sweet bite while some ice plant, gives a cactus-like freshness to the plate. An exceptionally executed and delicious dish.

Club Gascon continues to bring its subtle style of creative cuisine to City dinners. Professional front of house staff are delighted to serve such high quality food. Their effortless style only adds to the experience. But with ever increasing standards in the food, Club Gascon remains one of London’s outstanding restaurants. Somewhere you must visit.

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