Les Deux Salons (new ownership)

My parents and I needed a decent pre-theatre dinner so as Les Deux Salons is situated so close to most of London’s West End theatres, we decided to give it a punt. It has two sister restaurants, Arbutus and Wild Honey which both hold a Michelin star so expectations were fairly high.

We got off to a bad start whilst ordering drinks from our first waiter. He sadly spoke very little English so the process had to repeated with another waiter and even then we were still a coffee short (which never materialised). Why have a member of staff who can’t take a drinks order?

The interior however was lovely. Linen table cloths, silver cutlery and branded plates gave it a Delaunay style elegance. The pre-theatre menu was £15.95 for two courses or £17.95 for three courses and you have to order by 6pm.

Some white and brown bread kicked things off with some unsalted butter. I must say I absolutely hate unsalted butter I think it’s tasteless and therefore pointless.

The starter of crisp puff pastry leek tart looked simple and elegant and tasted great. The pastry was thin and cooked perfectly and the leek filling was rich and creamy.

My starter of beef tartare served with an egg yolk looked very impressive and was delicious. The beef was good quality and the chopped capers gave a pleasant saltiness. The taste of horseradish was slightly overpowering but other than that this tartare was a winner.

The main of Cornish pollock, spring cabbage, cumin and potato gnocchi was very enjoyable. The fish was flakey and moist with a crispy skin. The gnocchi’s were well made and roasted to give them a crisp exterior like roast potatoes.

My Italian sausages with sweet peppers and fennel salad was as stated – sausages, peppers and fennel – it’s not the sort of dish that would warrant me standing on my chair singing out with joy but it was pleasant. The sausages were good quality but the skin around the outside was tough to cut through. It was served in an oven proof dish with the lid on which the waiter lifts off to reveal the contents, which is a nice touch.

However, for every course, I was given the wrong persons dish and therefore had to tell the waiter whose it was which I found irritating. There wasn’t a member of staff with whom we made a connection with or had a rapport with so it was a bit flat as result. It felt like the restaurant had recently opened and the staff were still finding their feet.

The riz au lait (cold rice pudding) and lemon curd dessert was very pleasant. The lemon curd wasn’t to everyones personal taste but I thought it was well made and delicious. Presentation was attractive and the curd looked like a gooey egg yolk on top of the rice. This was a belly pleasing dessert.

I opted for the Paris Brest which is choux pastry with praline cream. A whopping great bowling ball sized choux bun was placed before me. The praline cream filling was delicious and worked perfectly with the toasted almonds. The choux pastry was a little tough (it tasted like it had been made a couple of days ago) but the filling was so moreish that it didn’t bother me.

As we all waddled off to the theatre we reflected over a rather delicious and affordable dinner but we were disappointed with the overall service. Maybe it was a staff training day or maybe it was business as usual – but I’d will be willing to give them another go – but only for a quick meal before the theatre.


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