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The scene: Classic, refined, if a little old-fashioned, Garnier makes no attempt to be the trendiest joint in town – maybe that makes it uber-cool, but I hope not.

It’s all gold-framed mirrors, red velvet, wood seats and finishes and white tablecloths, without the prices to match. This is proper French bistro style with panache. 

The grub A matching retro French brasserie menu that would make the godfather of Frog cuisine Auguste Escoffier proud. But it’s in no way intimidating if you’re not well versed in this type of thing. It could come off hokey, but classic dishes are like clichés, they last because they work.

My date and I agree to share each course with plate switching halfway through, but each dish is as hard to give up as the next. My duck liver terrine and apple compote is a simple treasure, the tart apple cutting through the creamy, rich pate. Similarly, the warm goat’s cheese with aubergine caviar is gooey joy, counterbalanced with bitterish leaves.

While my opposite went for the perfectly cooked morsels of dover sole (450 grams of it, choose fried or grilled) with parsley butter sauce, I can’t turn down a contrefílet mínute with sauce bordelaíse (my translation is a juicy sirloin steak deeply flavoured solo, but richly indulgent with bone marrow butter and red wine sauce).

Dessert is the closest we get to disappointed. My orangey chocolate terrine is a dark, rich slab with a thick ganache texture – not for the faint-hearted, even this dark chocolate fiend. The classic crepes suzette are, not surprisingly, delicately executed, but instead of stagey flames at the table we just get a good extra splosh of Grand Marnier. 

Behind the bar Expertly selected wine list on which I hadn’t heard of a thing – it’s all French of course – but the waiter is more than willing to match conventional preferences with a French equivalent (lots of them available in half bottles, too). 

Bill please Starters from £6.90; mains from £16.50; desserts from £6.90. Half bottles of wine from £11.90; white and red wines from £18.50 a bottle.

Verdict Unapologetically old school – all class in staff and in the place. 


314 Earl’s Court Road, SW5 9BQ  
Tube | Earl’s Court


Garnier - restaurant review: Classic French bistro in Earl's Court
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