Diary: Let's Do Lunch - Club Gascon

Reviewed by David Saunders, managing director, Marketforce Communications.

Club Gascon is not for everyone, and certainly not for the vegetarian.

The restaurant offers a whole course of foie gras and chips cooked in goose fat, so it is very important that you check your guests' dietary requirements. But Club Gascon is a restaurant to impress the committed and carnivorous foodie, even if it is far removed from the conventions of modern European cuisine.

Appropriately located between Smithfield market and St Bart's Hospital, the restaurant has a warm and cosy atmosphere. Sometimes it can be a little too intimate and you may well overhear the conversation of neighbouring diners.

But what makes Club Gascon stand out is the food - a wonderful array of dishes from France's Gascony region. Diners choose four or five small dishes, from starters such as caviar and oysters to warm Gascony pie of duck, pine morels and nasturtium.

The meat and fish courses are no larger and include delights such as fricassee of turbot, partridge cooked on cigar embers and a hearty old-fashioned Cassoulet Toulousian (a thick tomatoey casserole with a variety of meats and duck).

The wine list is both Gascon and obscure. Burgundy is absent, while the claret comes at a high price. Best take the sommelier's advice.

The food is neatly presented in small bowls or on slate plates, with helpful French waiters on hand to guide Club Gascon virgins through the menu.

Where: 57 West Smithfield, London, EC1A

Contact: 020 7796 0600

How much: £50 for 4-5 a la carte menu

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