Diary: Let's Do Lunch - Mon Plaisir

Reviewed by Andrew Pharoah, head of corporate affairs, Hill & Knowlton.

While probably not a regular haunt of visiting US politicians, Mon Plaisir has to be one of the best French restaurants in London.

It's London's oldest French restaurant and I'm reliably informed that General de Gaulle was an early customer.

Tucked into the quieter northern part of Covent Garden, it celebrates the very best of French cooking, with obvious pride. The huge French flag which adorns the entrance is a clue. Once inside you move into another world; or, to be more precise, four, with each of the dining areas capturing the look and feel of different eras.

Mon Plaisir packs a great deal into a relatively small space. It is intimate and maximum use is made of its floor space. For some this means sitting too close to the next table but, for me, the atmosphere, heavily and authentically French-accented service, and quality of food, overcome any downsides.

If it's a traditional French dish that you want, the Gratinee a l'Oignon is unsurpassed; the Steak Tartare is London's finest and the Coq au Vin is as it should be - the male bird, slow cooked, with deep flavour.

Mon Plaisir has been frequently copied but never equalled. And it's a quicker way to experience the real France than taking the Eurostar.

Where: 21 Monmouth Street, London WC2H

Contact: 020 7836 7243

How much: £30 to £40 a head

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