L’Escargot – London’s oldest French restaurant gets its ooh la la back.
This year has seen two of Londons best known restaurateurs (and gay restaurateurs at that) revive Londons most famous French restaurant.
Brian Clivaz, formerly of Mayfairs Arts Club, Home House and Langan’s Brasserie, and Chez Gerard co-founder Laurence Isaacson, have joined forces again to bring legendary French restaurant LEscargot back to its former glory.
Aided by Head Chef Oliver Lesnik, who trained with Michel Bourdin at The Connaught and has worked for Jean-Christopher Novelli and Angela Hartnett, LEscargot serves up beautifully executed brasserie hits including coq au vin, moules marinières and steak frites, alongside an ever-changing seasonal menu.
The grand, comfortable dining room is infused with Soho history and is back to being a relaxed yet glamorous place to escape from the hysteria of Soho.
Alongside the restaurant is new private members club “Upstairs” at L’Escargot, offering a much-needed respite from the hurly-burly (well, from the hurly, we love the burly) of Soho and the West End.
The cozy, sophisticated and unpretentious new club opens at 8am for breakfast and goes through to 1am (12 noon to 6pm on Sundays).
Positioned on the first and second floors, the labyrinth of beautifully restored club rooms for members include the sophisticated and airy Le Salon Vert at the front of the building, sexy and intimate Le Salon Rouge and the top floor Salan Grand Siecle, which is a stunning vaulted space.
The type of member centres of liberal minded sorts, who share a love of fun and fine things, who dont want to stifled by formality or a dress code, and are a mix of arts and science, straight and gay, young and old. Everyone who loves the glamour and bohemian spirit of Soho both its past and present glories.
The club is dog friendly, and members can enjoy great food and wine from the downstairs restaurant, cocktails, glamour and an eclectic range of events including recitals and cabaret.
A fascinating history
Established in 1927 at 48 Greek Street, L’Escargot is housed in the former private residence of the Duke of Portland in a Georgian town-house dating from 1741.
LEscargot was originally a French restaurant established in 1896 at the bottom end of Greek Street by M. Georges Gaudin and called Le Bienvenue. The restaurant was the first in England to serve snails and quickly became famous for the delicacy, leading Gaudin to move to the larger premises of 48 Greek Street in 1927. To reflect the restaurants famous delicacy, and the snail farm he had set up in the basement, Gaudin renamed the restaurant L’Escargot Bienvenue. Gaudins son Alex took over the restaurant when he retired, establishing it as the best French restaurant in London, and it then passed to Nick Lander and Jancis Robinson in the 80s with legendary Soho restaurant manager Elena Salvoni at the helm. Jimmy Lahoud and Chef Marco Pierre White took over in 1998 and further accolades followed.
Then in February 2014 L’Escargot was acquired and lovingly restored by restaurateur maestros Brian Clivaz, formerly of Arts Club, Home House and Langan’s Brasserie, and Chez Gerard co-founder Laurence Isaacson, with Head Chef Oliver Lesnik, formerly of The Connaught.
Monday to Saturday: Brunch 9am-12pm, Lunch 12 -3pm, Dinner 5pm-11.30pm