Club Gascon

If you’re bored of seeing pork belly on a set lunch menu then step through the smokey doors of Club Gascon. I say smokey because when we arrived the restaurant looked and smelt like it had just put out a fire. This was confirmed by the fire alarm going off 6 minutes into our visit. A rather smart gentleman then proceeded to take a chair from a table and stand on it by the door to press the buttons to stop the alarm. This made for quite exciting viewing and we forgot for a second that we were sat in a Michelin starred restaurant.The bread took an absolute age to come round and when it did we missed the first batch as other tables had clearly been waiting even longer than us. I can only assume the kerfuffle was that some new young kitchen porter had burned the bread and thrown everything out of kilter. When the bread did eventually arrive it was very good and there was a pleasant choice.

That aside….what an incredible sounding set lunch menu. £25 for three courses and for each course there are 6 options to choose from. And no pork belly hurrah.Crackled capon wings [capon is a castrated rooster], scallops ballotine, nuts and celery was my starter choice. Little parcels of de-boned capon wing meat were cooked perfectly and tasted delicious. The dish was presented beautifully and was topped with a foam (which had no flavour) but looked great.

My gentleman companion’s watercress velouté was a vibrant green and tasted fresh and summery. The little goats cheese gnocchis were a little odd and had a dough-ey texture. They felt a bit over cooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. They had a feeling of homemade-gone-wrong.
The French rabbit, fennel salad and confit chorizo main course was to die for. It was cooked absolutely perfectly and hadn’t dried out in any way. The shaved fennel was a light and fresh accompaniment. The little pile of offal was rich and earthy and the chorizo didn’t overpower the rabbit in any way.
My gentleman companion’s sautéed beef onglet pastrami with sherry sauce and salsify looked fresh and summery and the beef was cooked to perfection. In terms of a dish, it felt like there were just separate ingredients on a plate and it possibly lacked some technical excitement but most important of all it was tasty.
The chilled mango soup , frosted kiwi mojito and sesame sticks looked colourful, exciting and summery. I wanted to take my clothes off and dive into the bowl. The quinnell of kiwi mojito was bland but I didn’t care. I broke the sesame sticks into little bits and woofed down the soup and had little sticky sweet crunches of sesame. It was simple and delicious and not too heavy.
The chocolate fondant with salted caramel and lavender chantilly looked sexy and chic. It was cooked to perfection with a gooey rich centre. The lavender chantilly packed a ‘perfume section at Selfridges’ punch yet didn’t over power that sensuous chocolate.

Once the excitement from dessert had passed we realised the restaurant was empty apart from ourselves and two other tables.  The petit fours arrived in a little edible chocolate case. They were delicious and confirmed my thoughts that this was an unassuming yet very impressive restaurant. Say goodbye to your fine dining and impeccable service – at Club Gascon you are transported to a little cafe in the south west of France and you won’t want to leave again.8/10

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