Les 110 de Taillevent London Ditches Coq For Kale With Its Veggie Menu
Boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin, foie gras; French gastronomy is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious — and one of the most meat-centric — cuisines in the world. An invitation to sample the vegetarian and vegan menu at Les 110 de Taillevent, sister restaurant to the two-starred Michelin Le Taillevent in Paris, is therefore met with feverish interest.
Our appetisers are savoury choux buns stuffed with cheese. As we bite into the warm, flaky pastry, the salty tang of the cheese-filled centre tantalises our taste buds. The glass of silky champagne is a refreshing palate cleanser. Santé!
For starters we try the heritage aubergine. The flamboyant dish, with its brush stroke purées and thinly sliced aubergine, resembles a carefully constructed floral bouquet. The combination of flavours and textures is equally prepossessing; the aubergine is subtle, rich and light.
For the main course, we order the spelt risotto. Topped with vibrant green kale and a celeriac emulsion, the pearly white risotto is a simple, but pretty dish. The spelt has a bite to it, that regular risotto rice lacks. It also brings a deep nutty flavour to the dish, which is balanced by the sweet and creamy sauce. In keeping with French tradition, the portions are small. Of course, this means that there is sufficient room for dessert.
But before tackling pudding, one ineluctable course remains: cheese. Unfortunately, the selection of three cheeses is a little mean, particularly when France has so many sublime offerings.
But our disappointment is ephemeral; where cheeseboards disappoint, desserts excel.
We start off with the calamansi lemon, the most popular dessert on the menu, our waitress informs us. And we have little doubt why. An opaque gold sphere encases a treasure trove of flavours and textures: tart passion fruit, sweet meringue, piquant tequila and lime sorbet, crunchy shortbread. The bitterness from the citrus fruits and the sweetness from the meringue dance fervently across our palate.
We finish off with the most decadent dessert: the chocolate pudding. The dessert is as dainty as it is delectable: a chocolate biscuit disc topped with beautifully piped Guanaja and Camamelia chocolate and vibrant passion fruit purée. The pudding could pass for a very elegant headpiece at a wedding.
A final word is to be said about the service, which is exemplary. The sommelier is the cherry on the cake; the meal is as much a gastronomic, as an oenological journey. And while the offer of a vegetarian meal at Les 110 de Taillevent London might make a French person cry 'sacré bleu!', we think they would be crying 'oh la la' by the end of the night.
Les 110 de Taillevent London, 16 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, London W1G 9DD
Last Updated 15 February 2018