This wine bar attached to the feted Club Gascon of foie gras fame is a bit like a virgin visit to France after seeing loads of nouvelle vague films. It’s as smart, swish and chic as you expect, with the odd seemingly familiar thing that turns out to be not quite what you think.
So there we were, the estimable Meemalee, Chris and myself, perched at a high table in an almost empty bar eyeing the specials speculatively. I, for one, was feeling terribly decadent. This is not the sort of place I usually head for a Friday lunch. And it all seemed rather good, in a cool Alain Delon kind of way.
The initial appeal is that Club Gascon does an express lunch menu consisting of their dish of the day and a glass of wine for a tenner. Add another £2.50 and you get dessert or cheese thrown in. I like having no choice sometimes, it’s refreshing.
The plat du jour was confit rabbit on polenta. It sounded rather good so that’s what I chose (as did Meemalee), while Chris opted for some foie gras. Being gluttons, we also ordered an entire plate of charcuterie.
The foie gras was wibbly wobbly and every bit as rich as you would expect, while a squid plate (I’m still not sure whether we actually ordered it or it just arrived) was fabulous, the white flesh tender and tasty, with a little orange providing tart contrast.
Then came the rabbit. And this is where it all got a bit ‘Alice through the looking glass’, a bit David Lynch, a bit, well, you get the picture. This dish was just plain odd. The two rolled slices of bunny looked normal enough and they came floating atop a delicious sea of soft polenta, rich with garlic and olives.
But the rabbit itself was very, erm, different. It looked like rabbit, it tasted like rabbit, but the texture… It was soft, really really soft, and it kind of stuck to your teeth in a not unpleasant way. At least that was I was thinking. And then Meemalee piped up: “it’s like it’s been pre chewed.”
This put a whole new slant on the oddly textured meat. And there was something of baby food about it, If babys were fed fatty smooth rabbit. Baby food with an added claggy texture. Baby food that sucked all the moisture from your mouth like a triple hit of cream crackers. Odd.
But, y’know, being the greedy sod that I am, I finished my portion. Of the rest of the food, all of which seemed to come on a slate, the charcuterie was very tasty, as you would expect. And the cheese was superb, Particularly shavings of a semi soft sheep’s cheese whose name I forget.
I’d come here again, if only to see what mysterious mains they served up next time. It was, like any Lynch movie, an unforgettable, if slightly uncomfortable experience.