This afternoon I enjoyed an indulgent 5 course lunch at Le Cercle. I arrived at the basement restaurant, which is situated just off Sloane Street, feeling slightly hurried and ravenous.
So when I sat down at my booth and managed to take in the Flower Menu which consists of five courses and an optional sommelier wine pairing, I felt like I was being to forced to somewhat relax.
I had never been to Le Cercle before. It’s not an obvious place to spot from the main road but once you are there, it feels like an intimate local gem. I really like the décor.
At lunch time, the place was quiet but there were a few people dining in pairs: mostly women, catching up with each other. Apparently for dinner, the atmosphere changes and is more buzzy.
The Flower Menu launched on Tuesday and continues until 2nd June 2012 – perfect for The Chelsea Flower Show! And to start with, I had the Confit Salmon with white beetroot, horseradish granité and Borage, which was accompanied by a 2009 Pinot Black, Dom: Schlumberger “Les Princes Abbes”.
The starter was perfectly light. I enjoyed the beetroot and horseradish as well as the salmon and trout roe.
The second course consisted of Pan fried Sea Bass, green almond coulis, black aubergine and Daisies.
What surprised me most about this dish was the honey and maple syrup glazed aubergines. The burst of sweetness with each mouthful was a real delight.
This course was matched with a 2012 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Château La Cost, “Rose d’une Nuit”.
The third course – and yes, I was still going – included a roasted lamb chump, polenta fries, confit tomatoes and Rosemary flower.
And whilst I am not generally a fan of polenta, this was definitely my favourite pairing with the 2009 Cotes de Francs, Duc de Nauves. I loved this wine the most and it matched the lamb very well.
For the fourth course, I received a slice of langres cheese with caramelised fig and chilli rhubarb.
On the menu however, do expect to see St. Maure (unpasteurised goat’s cheese) and Lavendar. The cheese dish was paired with a 2009 Saumur, Langlois-Château.
For the finale, I tried the dark chocolate tart and violet ice cream with a 2009 Gaillac, “Les Gravels”, Domaine Rotier.
And wow, what a way to finish a meal. The tart was wonderfully light. It wasn’t too rich but it tasted divine – and the wine was perfectly suited.
Admittedly, when I first looked at the menu I was filled with slight panic: 5 courses for lunch! But actually, the portions worked very well.
The menu costs £35 per person and if you would like to include the wine pairings (which I wholly recommend) then it is £60.
So if you fancy a girly catch up like the other ladies in the restaurant, this could be a place to add to the list – especially during the Chelsea Flower Show.
Bon Appetit! And if you do make down there for the Flower Menu, do let me know which dish you enjoyed the most.