Le Cafe Anglais

Classic French food with a strong English accent

Where? 8 Porchester Gardens, London W2 (020-7221 1415)

Are we talking English or French, then?

A bit of both, actually. This huge west London dining room is an homage to a famous 19th-century Parisian restaurant (referenced in the film Babette’s Feast). Newly reinvented in London, it does French classic with a strong English accent.

Eggs and chips twice?

Oeuf en gelée and potato dauphinoise, more like. There’s a huge menu, packed with the kind of old-school dishes (such as celeriac remoulade and coq au vin) that rarely feature in today’s sundried tomato- and rocket-tinged world.

Sounds a bit old-fashioned.

The word you’re looking for is ‘classic’. What could be more glamorous than starting with an aperitif (Campari soda, say) and some hors d’oeuvres?

What’s to follow?

Choose either a traditional roast from the central rotisserie (chicken with lemon, garlic and thyme is a winner) or steamed or grilled fish (the Dover sole is pretty special). For pud, you’ve got old favourites such as queen of puddings or rhubarb and custard.

Could I take my nan?

She’d love it – and would undoubtedly dress for the occasion, which would only be right. The general air of relaxed opulence, combined with honest food (as in similar haunts The Ivy and The Wolseley), is loads of fun, and attracts everyone from pretty girls being treated by their (sugar?) daddies, to first daters, trendy couples and, on the night we went, Arlene Phillips.

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