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“Daunting!”
Review of La Chouette

La Chouette
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$36 - US$145
Cuisines: Belgian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
London
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Daunting!”
Reviewed 19 February 2013

We were just passing at lunchtime, and thought we would give it a try - we were really just scouting the place out. Such a frosty reception: "What are you doing here? You should have made a reservation. Were you lost?" I think people eat there despite Le patron (M. Desmette), rather than because of him! I don't think that he cares what people think, just so long as he can concentrate on his cooking, which he does extremely well. A word of warning: he was only open because another couple had made a lunchtime booking. So, book!

We had the set lunch - le menu des amis. It came to £40 for the two of us. No choice: A light vegetable soup, just perfect! Followed by beautifully poached salmon in a delicious red wine sauce with beans (not many!) and mashed potato. Actually, that was well worth the £40 on its own. Followed by two scoops of blackcurrant sorbet, which was a bit dull considering what had gone before. All served extremely quickly - we were out in an hour.

I don't know whether M. Desmette has hyper-acute hearing or has the tables bugged, but I quietly remarked to my wife whilst eating my soup that there was no salt or pepper on any of the tables - not that it was needed, actually. 30 seconds later, M Desmette swooped down on us bearing salt and pepper. He keeps birds of prey in his garden, and I feel that he has a lot in common with them.

The comparison with Basil Fawlty is somewhat unfair, as Fawlty was incompetent, whereas that cannot be said of Frederic Desmette at least as long as you consider just the cooking, not the front of house side. We'll go again, but it's not a restful experience.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank GDB2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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140 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
London
Level 6 Contributor
88 reviews
62 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Valentine's Day Meal”
Reviewed 15 February 2013

We were taken to a little side room, a sort of waiting room and were given the menus to have a look through, had some wine...would definitely recommend the house red, was lovely. We had complimentary mini soup samples whilst waiting, absolutely gorgeous. Now for the actual meal...best food I have ever had, and I'm quite a foody! Scallops for starter, they were huge, cooked perfectly and sauce was amazing...the beef main was cooked to perfection and my specific liking! I couldn't have cooked beef to my own liking any better! Waitresses were lovely...famous chef for his boulchieness didn't even acknowledge us which was a little disappointing only because we had heard such great reviews of him welcoming manner. Rather expensive but all in all perfect Valentine Day venue :-)

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SassSass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
Level 5 Contributor
23 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A little bit of the continent in the English Countryside”
Reviewed 10 February 2013

Nice surroundings, nice food although a little pricey. Lovely touch when you sit at your table... they bring you a whole home-made bread. Took the rest home and enjoyed a lovely French breakfast on Sunday morning!! A lot of fish on the menu but I went for a good-old rump steak. Scallops starter was delicious. I know it's a bit of a cliché but would have liked to see moules-frites on the menu... as it was no fries in sight!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ThomasVincent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
York, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Amazing menu degustation”
Reviewed 13 January 2013

Three of us went here for dinner on a Friday night, at first it was quite empty but filled up over the evening so there was a nice atmosphere. We had drinks before the meal and were served soup as an aperitif, which was nice but a bit weird alongside my gin and tonic! Also watch out for the Belgian beer as it’s strong stuff. The meal itself was amazing. We had the Menu degustation and all the courses were extremely good, especially the scallops with saffron and the sea bass in a mushroom sauce. We all agreed it was the best tasting menu we’d ever had, the only slight let down was the “surprise” desert which was basically ice cream with a foamy brandy flavoured sauce. The service was friendly and very efficient. We would definitely visit again.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank yorkshirepuds21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxfordshire, England
Level 6 Contributor
255 reviews
169 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Excellent lunch”
Reviewed 12 December 2012

Visited here for lunch yesterday as a foursome having read the reviews first. You'll either love or hate this place as you'll see by reading the reviews. We found it to be excellent. We booked the fixed price menu at £17.50 per head and were the only people there. Mindful of the comment in an earlier review made by the chef to someone who was tardy on arrival we made sure we arrived about 15 minutes early to be told "You're early - you're not due until 12.30". The owner/chef is certainly a character and part of the experience of dining here. Lunch consisted of tomato and basil soup, very peppery, followed by chicken breast in red wine and shallot sauce with seaonal vegetables and two types of mash with a nougatine for dessert. Really, a very good lunch and a place to return to. I assume we had the house red wine - no wine list was offered. It was a case of "Would you like a glass of wine?" as though the chef knew best. I had the red but my wife was dissuaded from having her usual white with an advisory "The chicken is cooked in red wine so you won't appreciate the white" so she stayed on her tonic water. The red was excellent by the way.
A refreshing experience all round!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Tricky49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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