Beautiful Michelin-starred French in the City
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : French
Address : 57 West Smithfield , The City, London, EC1A 9DS, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.clubgascon.com
Opening Times : Mon-Fri: 12pm-2pm & 6.30pm-10pm; Sat 6.30pm-10.30pm
Closest Tube : Barbican, Farringdon
If you are as passionate about France and foie as we are, you need to visit Club Gascon, stat. The restaurant has been presiding over the City as one of its premiere fine-dining establishments since its inception in 1998, winning a Michelin star in 2002 and playing an instrumental role in reviving Smithfield as one of London's central culinary hubs. Gascon looks poised to reign for many years following its recent refurbishment that has streamlined the dining room and menu in a manner that seems to be reckoning for yet another star. While the reasons for Club Gascon's success are myriad, there is a particular component that stands out. Namely, Chef Pascal Aussignac.
Hailing from Toulouse in the southwest of France, Aussignac elevated a cuisine that what was once known for its rustic simplicity to dining at its most sophisticated. Before arriving at his current position as one of London's top chefs, he trained with masters including Gerard Vie, Alain Dutournier and Guy Savoy. The dynamic between his classical schooling and his roots is an interesting one. Aussignac is a chef that teases out and elevates every nuance of an ingredient - whether it's foie gras or cassoulet, duck or charcuterie, fine wine or Armagnac, one can expect a work of brilliance in every bite.
CG has enlisted the talent of Sophie Douglas of Fusion DNA (previous designers of Comptoir Gascon, Le Bar ad Cigalon) to execute the refit. Service is spotless, executed with an almost military precision. Dark wooden chairs border tables with starched white cloths. There's an abundance of marble spread throughout, ranging in hue from alpine-glow roseate to dark caramel, two colours that are found quite often within Aussignac's cooking. The ambience in Club Gascon is quite intimate, lending itself as much to a romantic evening as to a celebratory meal with senior execs.
The restaurant returns with a new menu format, split between Gascon (featuring classic dishes), Season (with a focus on seasonal ingredients) and Garden (representing vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes). We opted to enjoy the five course chef's signature menu and were absolutely enamoured. Named 'A Taste of Autumn', it hit high notes throughout. Venison carpaccio with sea urchin jus, romanesco and sansho pepper was paired with a Chateau Talbot Caillou Blanc which sung with freshness and teased out the earthy undertones of the shellfish. But we were absolutely smitten with one of the best dishes we've had this year: crispy foie gras served with a cranberry and gingerbread canelé and a beautifully delicate DOmaine Camin Larredya, Jean Marc Gruassaute, Au Capeau dessert wine - like mainlining indulgence.