Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 7763
Address: 231 Ebury Street, Pimlico, SW1W 8UT
Cuisine Type: French
Dining at La Poule au Pot is like walking into a time warp. From the décor to the food, everything about this charming eaterie is old fashioned.
Adorned with rustic and random furnishings, from an old wooden wheel to a red garden watering can, this place is verging on kitsch. The seductive candle light and small space make for a romantic setting, and brimming baskets full of hay and bulbous fake grapes hanging from every corner make you forget that you’re in the chic London borough of Pimlico and transport you back to rural France of the early 1900s.
This impression is instigated further by the all-French staff, all-French handwritten menu and a list of specials reeled off to every diner – yes, you guessed it, in French. Alors, si vous ne parlez pas français, you’re a bit stuffed really.
The traditional, if a little dated, menu includes classics such as bouillabaisse, boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin, all main courses ranging from £15.25 – £22.
My starter of coquilles (£10.25), served in their shell and sautéed in white wine, butter, and a sprinkle of parsley were melt-in-the-mouth tender, luxuriously succulent, and fairly priced for such a generous portion. Also recommended is the foie gras pâté that came with toasted brioche and Sancerre jelly – the mild sweetness of the brioche complementing the savoury of the thick, velvety foie gras.
Our main courses didn’t quite measure up to the standards of our starters. My veal in mushroom sauce and my partner’s rabbit in a white wine and herb sauce were slightly overcooked, but nevertheless still rather good. All main courses come with a mélange of vegetable dishes- ratatouille, petit pois with onion and ham, and (a rather soggy) gratin dauphinoise were presented to us in a tin platter.
Indeed, slick presentation here is not top of the list: traditional English household plates – the sort you’d expect your grandmother would own – come laden with food, almost brimming over, adding to the homely feel of the place.
The dessert list is short but sweet: La crème brûlée, La mousse au chocolate, and La banane ‘à sa façon’ all sounded teasingly tempting, but after much deliberation we opted for a sickly sweet tarte tatin, which came with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
La Poule au Pot is the place for a romantic meal (most tables on our visit were occupied by couples). The atmosphere and décor, quaint and bursting with charisma, speaks a little louder than the food, but as long as you don’t mind that, La Poule au Pot comes highly recommended. Book well in advance and ask for a window corner table.