Most of us still associate good French restaurants with stuffy dining rooms, up-tight waiters and incomprehensible menus. But occasionally a restaurant like La Trouvaille comes along which really shakes up ‘the establishment’ and shows how good French food and great wine can be a laid back and fun affair.
Unassumingly tucked away behind Carnaby Street, La Trouvaille has actually been around for a few years now. It’s clearly something of a hit too, seeing as it was pretty much full on the Friday evening of our visit. The downstairs bar area is ideal for a quick lunch or a few glasses of wine with a spot of charcuterie. However, the first floor dining room is a far cooler affair with its white walls, scrubbed wooden floor, liberal use of cushions and clear Perspex chairs to provide a light and airy space.
Fortunately, there is plenty of substance behind the style in the form of some great food and a very special wine list. Not only does the list only consist of wines from the south of France, but it is also entirely organic and biodynamic. Talking to the sommelier, he is clearly passionate and highly knowledgeable about his wine, and judging by his banter with the regulars, it’s clearly something that the diners appreciate also.
The meal itself was also interesting and impressive. Their chef is classically trained in French cuisine, but has used his experience of working in countries such as Japan to add a slight twist to his menu. He also prides himself on using healthy cooking techniques and avoids the unnecessary use of fats, instead relying on the quality of his ingredients to maximise flavour.
Our delicious starters were a Duo of fresh salmon (one delicately pan fried, one in a tartar style), beetroot emulsion & vodka jelly which was perfectly matched to the Mas Des Agrunelles ‘Fleur Blanche’ ; and Vanilla foie gras with pain d epice & fruit marmalade with a glass of fresh Jurancon. For mains, the delicious Red mullet on scallops carpaccio & bitter orange with quenelle of chorizo really was again interestingly matched with a rustic glass of ‘L’Antidote’ Carignan; and my Rack of Lamb, ratatouille and lavender sauce was a perfectly cooked and wholesome plate of food. For dessert, Miss Pancake and I both went for the Trio of chocolate, comprehensively consisting of a chilli/dark chocolate ice cream, a milk chocolate shot and a white & milk chocolate mousse.
Cuisine type: French
Dinner for two: £35/person for 3 courses
Tel: 020 7287 8488