I think it was the praising reviews I read from AA Gil and Grace Dents 'Grace and Flavour' column which really got me thinking about food in Earls Court, or the lack of it. It's full of dodgy pizza takeaways and kebab shops, I'd almost forgotten that the idea of being able to visit The Ideal Home Show (sad I know) and sitting down for a meal which transported me back to a Parisian café I once visited (in my dreams). Getting that same feeling in London is not as easy as you may think.
Garnier restaurant is run by Didier and Eric Garner. Didier is still the proud owner of Le Colombier in Chelsea Square and Eric owned Racine in Knightsbridge. The food has a touch of classic bistro style but with more of a modern approach. The décor inside exudes class and sophistication - it's all very grown up.
After our less than exciting trip to the Ideal Home Exhibition we made a last minute reservation at Garnier. It was quiet when we arrived but service started to pick up just as we were finishing up and the Dom Perignon started flowing at our neighbouring table. Of course, I wasn't bitter. Some bread arrived at the table and included one of my favourite raw butters I had when last in the Netherlands, for the life of me I’ve forgotten the name.
Grilled sardines, courgettes and garlic mayonnaise sounded relatively simple. And it was, but executed flawlessly! The grilled sardines were juicy, surprisingly light in flavour and not overpowering. The smokiness from the grilled sardines cut right through the garlic in the mayonnaise and the grilled courgettes still retained a nice bite. Every mouth full reminded me of summer.
The pork liver pate with baby glazed onions and a side of toasted bread was actually more of a terrine then a pate. It was dense, meaty and marbled with pistachios. The baby onions were delicious and the sweet juice oozed out all over the plate when my fork got anywhere near them. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish as a 'terrine', but not as a pate.
Roast leg of pork with greens and roast potatoes, was a glorified Parisian inspired roast dinner. The pork was soft and tender with a crisp fatty outside, shiny glaze and extremely crispy potatoes. The greens which were spinach, why they didn't just state that on the menu I'm not sure. The gravy was excellent. It was rich and buttery with a lovely shiny glaze. Another sauce was on the plate, pinkish in colour and quite acidic, I've completely forgotten what it was, but none the less, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The fish main of hake with crushed potatoes and dill sauce was again, excellent. It's been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a fish dish as much as this. The perfectly cooked fish had a beautifully crisp crust and the crushed potatoes were full of flavour. I can't wait to attempt to replicate this dish at home, especially the sauce. Rich and creamy with a silky texture and fresh potent dill. What more could you ask for?
For good French fare in London Garnier will definitely be a choice for me while living in south/west London. It has excellent service, a competitively priced set-menu and above all, delicious food. We never got round to desserts as we didn’t quite have the time but I have no doubt they were just as good.