Newest Review: ... not precious. If you want ketchup on your chips you can ask and not receive dumbfounded looks and mutterings about getting chef. You’... more
London Eating, The French Way
Chez Gerard (London)
Member Name: chrisandmark
Chez Gerard (London)
Date: 18/08/06, updated on 18/08/06 (307 review reads)
Advantages: Delicious well cooked food, good service and easy to find.
Disadvantages: While children can eat at Chez Gerard, they're not really welcomed in terms of menu
As we arrived, we were quickly seated at a cosy table for two and given menus to look at. As Chez Gerard is renowned for ‘The Best Steak Frites This Side of Paris’, our minds were kinda made up before we even opened the menu. Steak Frites is basically a well cooked steak with a pile of crispy chips – and it was divine.
Imagine a thick rump steak; cooked just long enough to take the pinkness out of the middle. The meat was tender and juicy; I could literally cut into it with just my fork, but the sharp steak knives which are laid out for this meal sliced through the steak like it was butter. The steak is drizzled in a peppercorn sauce, complete with whole peppercorns, which is a wonderful combination of peppery and creamy flavours. The frites (hereby known as chips) are delicious. Unlike a lot of restaurants, particularly in the Birmingham area, Chez Gerard are not ashamed of the fact that their chips are fried. These super skinny chips are, I would imagine, deep fried for a couple of minutes to get such a wonderfully crunchy texture. In a world of low fat foods, these chips are finger licking greasy.
One thing I loved about Chez Gerard is the fact that although it’s an upmarket restaurant, they’re not precious. If you want ketchup on your chips you can ask and not receive dumbfounded looks and mutterings about getting chef. You’ll receive ketchup and a smile.
We’d opted for a 3-course meal which consisted of a starter, main course and dessert with a half bottle of wine and cup of coffee thrown in. I’ve already discussed the fantastic main course, and the rest of the food was top notch too. In a French restaurant you’ve got to sample the French Onion Soup, this is a deliciously authentic dish but very filling when you also eat the mountain of fresh crusty bread. Very French, very onion-ey, very nice.
By the time our desserts arrived I didn’t feel like I could eat any more. Until our desserts arrived, I should say. I’d ordered a chocolate orange torte type pudding, and well… wow… This is seriously the very best dessert I’ve ever eaten; a moist melt-in-the-mouth mousse which was so richly flavoured with chocolate that I thought I’d died and gone to choccie heaven. The mousse was peppered with small chucks of proper chocolate too, which made it even better!
There’s a child’s menu available at Chez Gerard, which I can’t really comment on as the kids weren’t with us when we stayed in London. Looking at the menu, I’d say it’s suitable for those of you with older children who are adventurous with their food. Yes, traditional beefburgers and chips are on the menu but they all understandably have a French twist – so unless your child will happily eat burger garnished with thickly sliced onion (and what child would?) they’ll probably leave here hungry. There were a few children when we visited, although most customers were young to middle aged couples without kids.
It’s not that Chez Gerard doesn’t cater for children, because they do. It’s just that the restaurant itself has got a very grown up feel and it’s definitely one to visit with ‘just the two of you’ as there’s a definite romantic atmosphere in there.
The staff are really helpful, I had to complain about being given a glass with my wine which hadn’t been washed properly and this was dealt with immediately and an apology (plus free glass of champagne) given. We waited roughly fifteen minutes for each course, which is great because I hate sitting in those restaurants where as soon as you finish one course another one is placed in front of you. In Chez Gerard I felt we had time to chat and generally unwind in between eating the fantastic food.
The half bottle of house wine which came with each meal was a nice smooth red, which went down nicely with the steak. There’s a choice of three or four wines, and as I’d heard of none of them I asked the waiter to recommend a good bottle to go with our meals. He seemed knowledgeable about the various wines on offer, and also a later query about champagne was dealt with in the same professional manner.
Booking a table seems to be the best thing to do if you want to eat at Chez Gerard, we basically wandered in off the street and apparently we were lucky to get a table as they are usually fully booked. It’s definitely a popular restaurant, all of the tables were in use by the time we left and I could see a couple hanging around to sit down as soon as we’d finished. They had to wait a while before I could manage to get up after my three course meal!
Chez Gerard is fully accessible to disabled visitors with most tables having plenty of space separating them. As there are a couple of areas where access would be difficult, however, it’s worth mentioning when you book if you have someone with mobility problems in your party.
We paid £30 each for our three course meal, and I think it was definitely money well spent. Yes, we could have gone somewhere cheaper but would we have experienced such high quality food and brilliant service? I doubt it. As the wine came with the meals, and also a very rich coffee at the end, we didn’t spend any extra on drinks so our bill was exactly £60. Service charge is automatically included in the meal prices, which saves the ‘how much should I give him?’ conversation which immediately follows being presented with a restaurant bill.
The easiest way to find Chez Gerard is head to Waterloo tube station, take a left onto York Road and then skirt around the Imax – the restaurant is located on Belvedere Road which is dead easy to find as long as you keep your eyes open for the road signs. Congestion charge applies in this area, as does extortionate parking fees, so definitely get the tube if you’re not within walking distance of the restaurant – you can always call a cab if you’re too stuffed with food to walk back to the tube station!
ps - Recommended even though it says below I don't!
Summary: Make sure you save some room for pudding!