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B A R B I C A N L I F E


see there’s a huge choice including many of the best restaurants in the area), but overall some 550 restaurants participate – or book your meal through www.Squaremeal.co.uk which also contributes to the charity.


A T RESTAURANT REVIEWS


ll five of the restaurants reviewed below run StreetSmart over November


and December – but as noted in the table above there are plenty of others contributing to the charity to choose from in our area, and a huge number more throughout London and elsewhere in the country also. There are longer versions of the reviews below, with more illustrations, on the barbicanlife.com website.


Coq d’Argent – great dining in the heart of the City


he Coq d’Argent is perhaps the best located restaurant in the heart of the City, across


from the Mansion House, the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England. It is atop No.1 Poultry – the peninsula building at the eastern end of Cheapside and has a great restaurant space, but really comes into its own through the warmer months with a terrific alfresco dining area and roof garden. Seldom have I been to a restaurant


where absolutely everything was just right, but this was indeed the case when we ate at Cod d’Argent. Décor, ambience, service and food were all absolutely excellent. I think it was one of most enjoyable lunchtime dining experiences I have had anywhere. Given it was mid-October when


we ate there, despite the weather being so mild, we were seated indoors as the alfresco dining area was not open for food service, although some people did sit outside for a drink or coffee (and to smoke a cigarette or cigar). The restaurant itself is a great space, tables are positioned reasonably well apart, white linen tablecloths and table napkins, carpeted floor so one can hear oneself and one’s eating companion talk. Floor to ceiling windows on three sides , which can all be pulled back to open out the space to the terraces in


Lunchtime in October at the Coq d’Argent


good weather mean the whole area is light and airy. Service was exceptionally well


drilled and first rate and the food was delightfully served and all courses – were very good indeed. Head chef Mickael Weiss comes up with beautifully cooked food and is definitely something of an artist in its presentation. We could not find any fault with anything. The restaurant is certainly not low


cost, but bearing in mind that it employs over 90 people to serve the clientele – 120 in the summer months when the eating area extends outside – one can perhaps begin to understand why prices may seem a little steep to some, although they are not out of step with many other often inferior eating establishments in the area. And given its location the basic overhead cost for rent, rates and maintenance for the restaurant must also be very high. Indeed when one takes all this into account the fact that the restaurant also offers, in addition to the a la catrte, a very favourably priced set menu option is remarkable.


But down to the food. The menu


has a continental ring to it, indeed it is described as contemporary French, but is broader than that might suggest. I went with the a la carte menu and my companion was happy with choosing dishes off the set menu (which were all on the a la carte in any case). I started with a beautifully served crab cocktail salad which was excellent while my companion had cauliflower velouté with hot smoked salmon, which she thought was brilliant. For mains I had roast partridge and she had duck – again both very good indeed. And then dessert: We had a blackberry and apple meli-melo which was presented so beautifully that it almost seemed a shame to eat it – but when I did it was delicious – and a blueberry and elderberry parfait, also artistically presented and absolutely first rate. Usually if I eat at restaurants I forego dessert on diet grounds – but here you should order them just to admire their presentation! A typical three course meal off the


a la carte menu would probably cost in the region of £40-60 a head


What a work of art – the blackberry and apple meli-melo dessert. Tasted as delicious as it looked


35


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