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Les Gourmes des Ternes, Knightsbridge

Where
Les Gourmes de Ternes, Knightsbridge

IMG_0147What
Famous Parisian restaurant Les Gourmes des Ternes opens its doors in Kightsbridge.

Experience
You will find Les Gourmes des Ternes tucked-up on a quaint narrow street a few steps away from Knightsbridge station. From outside the French restaurant barely looked open, but as we were greeted at the door and shown past a ruby velvet curtain we realised the shy exterior was all part of the mystery.

We arrived a little early for our table so were shown upstairs for an aperitif. The bar was beautifully decorated with antiques meticulously collected from both France and the UK. The secret cocktail bar, fittingly named Rendez-Vous, resembled a 1920’s Parisian speakeasy.

“What can I get you?” asked our bearded French bartender. I requested his favourite cocktail and accepted his invite to try Perfect Thym. I sat at the mahogany bar and sipped on my drink which was shaken with Tanqueray gin, crème d’abricot, thyme syrup, orange bitter, egg white and a squeeze of lemon, while my friend Tom admired the vintage fussball table in the corner– boys will be boys.

Les Gourmes des Ternes is a product of the original which first opened in 1962 in the 8th District of Paris by Francis Marie. Passed on through generations, Les Gourmes des Ternes is now owned by grandson Maximilien Parfentieff. The Paris restaurant is a favourite among celebrities, counting the likes of Jack Nicholson and Sharon Stone as diners. We are charmingly reminded of the restaurant’s celebrity visitors with framed photographs on the wall. Even the table cloths are printed with kind messages and autographs.

I ordered the Beetroot Salad which is served ‘eat as much as you like’ style chopped up in a large glass bowl with a serving spoon and side plate. Despite how much I loved the sweet dressing on the earthy root, I managed about a quarter of the bowl before giving up – I needed to save room for what was up next!

As we waited for our mains, tables began to fill with French diners. We began to feel like Parisians ourselves. Two glasses of Châteauneuf-du-Pape were ready and waiting to compliment our rare Sirloin steak. Our meat was well rested, tender and of great quality. On the side, we shared crispy pomme frittes and rich peppercorn sauce – which I fought over to the very last drop. Tom ordered the signature dessert of Chocolate Mousse, which was bettered only by my choice of Crème Brûlée.

At Les Gourmes des Ternes the menu is simple, but has everything you expect from a classic French brasserie. Head to the secret upstairs cocktail bar for a French Martini after a day in Hyde Park and dine late with the French.

Cost
Starters £5-£10
Mains £16 – £31
Sides £4.50

Where
9 Knightsbridge Green
London
SW1X 7QL

Table 9 at 108 Brasserie

Where
108 Brasserie
108 Bar Set up_Interiors
What
108 Brasserie (formerly named 108 Bar and Grill) has had a complete make-over. Tanya Yilmaz of former The Ivy and Asia de Cuba fame has joined the team as General Manager, while Ivo Ferreira de Silva runs the bar.

The team has introduced a new chef’s table named Table 9. Table 9 is a large table located in the center of the 108 Brasserie’s restaurant, which comfortably seats 6-8 people. Guests choose from a selection of tasting menus all designed by executive chef Russell Ford, who brings with him his experience from the Grove hotel, Le Méridien Piccadilly and the Dorchester. He is even on hand to greet you between each dish and guide you through your culinary feast.

Experience
It took me five minutes to escape the chaos of Oxford Street and walk into the idyllic tranquility of Marylebone.

I met my friend in the bar and was handed a glass of Nyetimber Classic Cuvee sparkling wine while we waited for other guests to arrive. I hadn’t seen my friend since her man ‘put a ring on it’, so we had reason to celebrate. Nyetimber is considered one of the best English wines with grapes hailing from vineyards in West Sussex and Hampshire. The flavour is complex, first with a sweet brioche base and then a light fruity finish. We did not decline a top up before being shown to our seats.

The first course presented was watercress soup with smoked haddock and a poached black headed gull’s egg. These highly sought after eggs have become popular on the menus of fine-dining establishments in London. The market reflects the difficulty in sourcing them, with licensed pickers scouting them during a very short season. Ours could be traced to the Isle of Wight. It was my first time tasting a black headed gull’s egg, which was beautifully poached and perched on top of a fresh watercress soup. The dish was accompanied with English Nyetimber Classic Cuvee.

The second course arrived, seared yellow fin tuna encased in wasabi sauce and sliced East Sussex heirloom tomatoes and avocado. This dish was both delicate and flavourful and paired with Sancerre white wine.

Next up – the fish course. Roasted line caught sea bass with seared roe on Isle of Skye scallops, sea vegetables and shellfish sauce. The wine pairing was Riesling, which I thought slightly overpowered the subtle, creamy shellfish sauce. My friend thought so too, and gave her feedback to the waiter who immediately poured her a glass of Pinot Grigio. She was delighted, and I was impressed.

New season Cornish lamb was served three ways for our decadent main course. The rack was pink, the sirloin was tender and the breast was crispy. The lamb was accompanied with morels, peas, broad beans and wild garlic.

Ford’s interpretation of my favourite childhood combination Yorkshire Rhubarb & Custard left me yearning for more. But of course the piece de resistance was reserved to the very end when table 9 was presented with a Tasting of La Fromagerie Cheeses to share. Generous wedges of Bosworth Ash Log, Appleby’s Cheshire, Cote Hill Blue, Durrus and Keen’s Cheddar were accompanied of course with tomato chutney and crackers. I would advise ordering a menu that includes this most impressive spread.

Finally a glass of Balvenie 12 year Doublewood single malt was paired with our cheeseboard. A sip of this complex whiskey before a bite of Cote Hill Blue brought out the richness of the cheese.

Table 9 has everything; an exquisitely designed menu, locally sourced dishes, a beautifully tranquil location, a unique dining experience and a cracking cheese board. All that’s left to do is choose your menu.

Cost
Menus range from £45 to £120 per person

Where
108 Brasserie
108 Marleybone Lane
London
W1U 2QE