You know those people who never win competitions. I’m one of them. When I buy a raffle ticket I am basically making a donation to whoever I’m buying it off. So I was more than a little shocked when I got an email from Qype to say that I had won a competition for vouchers to spend at D&D Restaurants. D&D is the restaurant group that has taken over the old Terence Conran restaurants in London. Rob Hinchcliffe from Qype asked me whether I was planning on eking the prize out over the course of a year or blowing it in one go, I decided on a compromise between the two – I would blow half on a big dinner with a group of friends.
Yellow fin tuna
That’s how we found ourselves at Coq d’Argent for dinner clutching a handful of vouchers. The restaurant is right in the middle of the city proper and on nice days you can sit out on the terrace with drinks. Given that there were gale force winds and rain on the night we were there we didn’t really get to take advantage of the terrace. The restaurant itself is modern and neutral featuring various shades of beige. It’s a recognition that the views and the terrace are the focus at Coq d’Argent.
Head Chef Mickael Weiss’ menu is as French as you would expect in a place with a name like Coq d’Argent but with a contemporary twist. There is the option of a set menu of three course for £35 which offers good value. Glazed pork cheeks are presented in a shallow bowl cocked on top of a mound of braised peas and a leek broth. The cheeks are shiny and unctuous and make a satisfying starter. However a big miss on the menu is the lobster bisque. The soup is so rich that it is impossible to have more than a few spoonfuls and it had an unpleasant grainy texture. Perhaps it could work as an amusé but a whole bowl of the bisque is too much.
Of the mains the roasted confit of duck is teamed with gingerbread, savoy cabbage and roasted plum. It is a busy dish but it never seems crowded as all the ingredients are happy sharing a plate. The grilled yellow fin tuna is similarly complex, served blood red in the middle alongside a sweet and sour aubergine compote. However the pick of the mains sampled is the poulet au vin rouge. The chicken is slowly braised in red wine with onions, mushrooms and bacon until the flavour is intense and the chicken itself falls apart on the fork.
After all this comes dessert of passionfruit tart which is essentially in the style of a lemon tart. It is enjoyable enough but lacks flair and impact. MTV boyfriend fared better by ordering the créme brulée off menu. He rates this the second best créme brulée he has had in London (he orders it everywhere) with a great vanilla bean flavour and a smooth and luxurious texture.
Between us we managed to drink quite an assortment of excellent wines from Coq d’Argents extensive wine list. However be careful as the list leans to the more expensive side and so despite the food being only £35 a head by the time you included sides, service and drinks the final price was closer to £100 per head. I felt that this was quite a lot for a meal that was inconsistent in it’s standard.
Details: 1 Poultry, City EC2R 8EJ (Ph 020 7395 5000) Tube: Bank