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L'Auberge Restaurant (London)

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      01.12.2001 16:32
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      Teddington has more than enough customers for the many restaurants that line its main street due to the presence of the TV studios and the many businesses roundabout. When driving through the town no matter what night of the week it is, all the restaurants seem to be packed full. No exception is L’Auberge, which is attached to The King’s Head pub. This is the town that I grew up in, and I hosted my 21st birthday party in this pub. Then it was OK, but not the comfortable place to drink in that it is now. There was no restaurant but the floor-boarded function room was cheap and at that age it was all I wanted. However times have changed and this pub is now part of the Massive chain of bars, pubs and restaurants. The restaurant has a good reputation in the area so when my mum decided that she would like to go there I leapt at the chance, especially as she decided that she was paying! It is advisable to book here so we did, and on the night headed down in anticipation. We were lucky enough to be able to park in the pub car park, but be warned it can be difficult on the main street so you may have to trek a bit. We went in through the bar area. This appeared to be heaving with people. Upon entering the restaurant the first thing that hits you is its calm, and its very attractive cream and maroon décor. This combined with extremely welcoming French staff, made for a very good initial impression that was followed through when we were given our table. There are no pre-wrapped butter pats or milk jiggers here and the china and cutlery was of high quality. The only small thing that jarred was the paper cover that was placed over the table cloths. This restaurant is not overly formal, and is no way pretentious, but I did not see anyone bring children in. In the case of small children or babies, to be honest I don’t think it is the place for them. However disabled people are made very welcome as I saw on the next table.
      The very friendly and competent staff bent over backwards to accommodate the wheelchair user in the party. This is a French restaurant so the courses are described both in French and in English. I do not normally eat a starter and a dessert as well, nor do my family so we went straight into the main course. There was a good selection priced at around the £15 mark but the three of us all went for the roast lamb in red wine and rosemary sauce with a selection of vegetables. This, when it arrived, was superbly presented in the “nouvelle cuisine” style. The fault with this kind of food can be, by the time the chef has finished arranging it on the plate it will be stone cold. Not so here it was piping hot and most important, tasted great. Desserts came priced at £4 to £5 and looked exquisite. I was delighted to see one of my favourites was on the menu. It is possible to get crème brulée horribly wrong and I have seen a lot of restaurants do this. The one I had here was to my mind how it should be, with a thin, crisp topping of caramelised sugar. This was topped with a small spray of red currants. My mother asked for home made ice cream and this arrived encased in two tiny edible biscuit baskets decorated with a petal formation of raspberry coulis. She could barely bring herself to eat this work of art. My sister pronounced the figs in red wine and blackberry sauce with vanilla ice cream delicious. This restaurant is not your run of the mill microwave in and out job. There was not the horrid pressure you have to eat and leave in some restaurants so that they can bring the next party in. You will find that you probably have to wait for your meal and it is worth it. The only thing I would do if I went again is to order a starter (around £4 to £5) as we felt we would have had the full “L’Auberge experience” if we had. This restaurant is a place that many will go to for special occasions as reflected in the prices, n
      ot expensive for London but expensive for many people unless there is an exceptional event. The wine list starts out at about £15 a bottle and the red we had at this price was very acceptable. I do remember seeing one bottle featured that cost around £90 so it is up to you what you spend there. L’Auberge Restaurant 123 High Street, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 8AG 020 8943 2259 http://www.massivepub.com

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