Les Deux Salons // Covent Garden // London

Standing tall and proud in hectic William IV Street between Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden is Les Deux Salons. A typical Parisian-style brasserie that has proven itself to be a serious contender in the fierce market for both the tourist and local diners. Perhaps the reason why it has been able to kept-up trade since it opened in October 2010 is that it doesn’t rely on a mass of Press and PR hype to survive, unlike others. Instead, it actually delivers lovely plates of tasty food for excellent value for money which gets the punters in; a tricky feat giving the explosion in number of seats available for French bistrot dining in the city.

With the grand space, the dark wood, the brass and the banquettes, the spirit of Parisian institutions like Bofinger has been recreated perfectly. Waiters rush about rattling plate and clinking cutlery, which also adds a touch of bustling authenticity; the service is professional and friendly.

The menu offers the expected bistrot classics and a week of plats du jour. For entrées, the ceviche of swordfish with its chilli lime dressing sums-up how well Les Salons takes quality ingredients and puts them together in a way that leaves you feeling very satisfied. As a ceviche, the swordfish is a revelation. Rich, almost buttery in texture, but well balanced by the fresh, zingy dressing. The foie gras terrine is proudly homemade, served with some lovely crisp bread and a pineapple and apple chutney. Simple, but again, quality products sympathetically treated.

For mains, andouillette fans will be in heaven. This love it or hate it tripe sausage is pungent and velvety in texture. The mustard sauce that it sits in is deep and can hold-up to the strength the not so delicate delicacy. The gratin dauphinoise that comes with the slow-cooked chicken in red wine is one of the best you’ll ever taste. No doubt because it’s full of all those naughty things we’re told not to eat. Though the portion size is Parisian, so you’ll not need to feel too guilty.

For dessert, more well-executed classics are on show like Paris Brest. A large choux pastry, filled with a coffee flavoured praline cream, which is just as it should be.

Overall, Les Salons is a very enjoyable experience. The good thing about being in a touristy area too is that they always serving food, from early until late. The long bar is great for a late afternoon negroni or champagne after shopping too. It’s certainly ‘above expectation’ for us.

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