So off we went to Gauthier Soho for a birthday treat. Tucked away, unassumingly, down Soho’s Romilly St it was a first to ring a doorbell for entry – we were, however, greeted by a welcoming host and were quickly taken upstairs to be seated in the sleek but cosy townhouse’s first floor dining room. Gauthier’s a la carte menu is full of modern French cooking. You basically have 5 sections of the menu where any 3, 4 or 5 plate combination is allowed. A least greedy 3 plate option sets you back £40 after which you add a tenner for each additional course. The hospitality continued whilst ordering, with our French waiter happily and enthusiastically answered our menu queries ranging from ‘what’s Yuzu?’ to ‘why would you be so cruel as to have a calorie count on your menu?’.
First up, pretty picture canapés were brought to the table which were hoovered up by the table. Quickly following said canapés, what looked like XXX extra strong mints arrived, only to have hot water poured over them to transform into fluffy tinie tiny hand towels. Canapés don’t often cause hand mess worthy of a hand towel but we smiled and carried on regardless. The bread selection they then offered was yummy, in fact, having unlimited access to such carb heaven was dangerous especially given the numerous courses you were about to embark on. Will power was a must.
Given the amount of dishes consumed, I’ve decided to home in on highlights and, slightly lower lights, of the evening. The sweet scallops with turnip, ginger cream and fresh apple & coral dressing worked brilliantly. The pink venison, although small for a main dish, was melt in the mouth delicious, working well with the sweet pear and aniseedy celeriac purée. Pudding wise, the signature ‘Golden Louis XV’ chocolate praline torte was perfect, and it was surprising just how delicious a dessert that features only a selection of sorbets and ice creams can be; we could have happily received the banana & caramel one in a wheel barrow with a couple of shovels.
To offset those favourite moments there were a couple of not so great ones. Unfortunately the palate cleanser of passion fruit with Greek yoghurt foam was an unnecessary hurdle before pudding without any decided flavour. There was also a hiccup in the shape of their party favour macaroon given to all lady diners on the way out which was a lovely, unexpected, parting gift. We left it until the following day as a Sunday treat and it was decidedly not worth the wait…how a pretty pink macaroon can taste so strongly of bathroom cleaner chemicals that you can’t finish it is almost an achievement.
Yes it wasn’t perfect, but it was good. Really good in fact overall. Bundling together the food, staff and the feel of the place itself I would happily go again on a ‘Sunday best’ special occasion (dodging the party favour on the way out obviously). It would also be a first stop treat for any veggie I might dine with in the future given their passion for cooking vegetarian plates, with a complete veggie tasting menu available. The bill for 6 of us, with wine, came to around £350.