Walking past the big windows Le Garrick in Covent Garden the view within is busy, warm, inviting with people surrounded by quirky French art all laughing and looking like they are having a fabulous time.

After a very warm welcome from the Owner and proud new father (we saw the baby pictures) Charles Le Pelletier, we were instantly offered 2 glasses of champagne before being shown to our seats. Initially having been given a cosy booth downstairs I decided I wanted to soak up the true atmosphere of the place and asked if we could be moved upstairs where the main action seemed to be.

I must say the Charles Chevalier champagne was exceptional and a very drinkable aperitif. I personally always enjoy bubbles while I peruse the menu.  As we looked over the well balanced menu Charles talked us through a bit of back ground about the place and what a story it is.  Charles is from a little town near Toulouse and came over around 8 years ago. He started off working as a cleaner in pret-a-manger. By chance he stumbled on Le Garrick one evening and that night would change his life forever. Not only did he meet his now wife who declared that same evening ‘your mine’! (Proof that love at first sight does exist) 8 years later he would end up owning the place.  Charles says “everything on the menu are my favourite dishes, that way I can eat whatever I fancy”

After a brief explanation of some items on the menu, you get a real feel that he is truly passionate about good food with great ingredients.  “I want food from the field not from the truck” he says and he is not fibbing.  Almost everything is from small towns near where he grew up. The foie gras is from a guy he went to school with in France who took over his dad’s goose farm, the Vacherin cheese for the Fondue is from a tiny village near his family home and the calamari is from a town where the houses are all white and they hang the squid on the front of their homes which turns them red. Apparently it’s a popular tourist attraction.

After a very lovely yet lively chat with Charles, fatherhood calls (Charles does night feeds) and we were left in the very capable hands of Genta a family friend who came to the uk 25 years ago. Genta’s style was a little less hyper than Charles however this lady was just as passionate about good service, good food and good wine “if the wine isn’t good enough for us, it’s not good enough for you”

We decided to share some cured meats and the famous foie gras a pre starter and we were not disappointed.  It was exceptional and the fig chutney had the most amazing yet subtle flavour that perfectly complimented the dish, the tiny seeds were like popping candy in your mouth giving the whole thing a real dynamic fruity experience.

The 24 month cured meats were also very good. Salty and full of flavour. Before Charles left he just had to remind us that we did NOT have chorizo it was Saucisson Picante from a town in France of course, 100% not Spanish.  On Genta’s recommendation we had Scallops with red pepper and rocket and Calamari with ginger as starters.  The calamari came sizzling in a hot stone bowl and smelt just amazing. The sizzling ginger really really makes its mark and is a very impressive starter.
We were both completely blown away by the flavours, texture and taste of this stand out dish. The broth had a real kick and we were told it’s not from chilli it’s from a Espelette pepper that has a distinctive flavour and slow burning warmth that is truly addictive. When the scallops arrived I slightly regretted my decision as they were a little on the small side. However they were very well cooked and the rocket and red pepper accompaniment was fresh and crisp.

For main we were told the steaks were exceptional and I was recommended the duck with honey glaze on lingot beans.  Now my friend is an offender of every meat eater out there and likes her steak well done (gasps all round).  When they arrived we were both astounded at the sheer size of the steak. It was huge!!  My duck looked very insignificant next to it.  My disappointment was short lived however, as I pulled the duck apart to prepare for the first bite the explosion of aroma that came out, it meant that I had to close my eyes for a second and really take It in. It smelled so good that a second was all I could hold on before the mouth watering and screams from my tummy won and I had to eat it.

I didn’t get a huge honey taste (thank goodness as I do not like honey) but the skin was crisped to perfection and tasted sweet and salty. The meat literally fell off the bone and was succulent and moist. It is very hard for duck not to dry out, yet mine was perfectly cooked. The lingot beans were lovely, soft enough to mash yet not too soggy and able to keep their form. There was a thick tomato sauce with the beans and personally I would have preferred more sauce as lingot beans can be quite dry in the middle but a lovely, warming, hearty dish all the same. I would order again for sure.

Now personally I think it is a crime to have steak ‘well done’ however I had to try it because the encouraging moans of appreciation coming from my friend were getting too much.  This was without doubt one of the best, if not the best, well done steak I have had. The meat was clearly a great cut (entrecôte) and it was tender, juicy and melt in the mouth good. One can only imagine how phenomenal the same steak cooked rare would be.

For the first time all evening we were both silent for atleast 10 mins while we concentrated on enjoying every mouthful.  After such a pleasant gastronomical experience one hoped dessert would not disappoint. I need not have worried.  We were brought the lemon tart, plums in Armagnac and ice cream and Genta said we should also try the Creme brûlée which is a personal favourite.

All three were fabulous however the plums were another true stand out dish. I actually don’t like plums but this was like Christmas on a plate and just couldn’t stop eating it. Complimented by a outstanding Mont Basillac dessert wine. I normally pass on dessert wine as it’s so sweet and over powering, however this was the perfect pairing to all three dishes.

I was hoping for a fun evening with good food and Le Garrick exceeded every expectation. The staff really know their stuff and genuinely care. There are no airs and graces, the tables are squished together and it’s so busy and loud at times but, you can’t help but be drawn into the magic of the place.

If you are looking for the perfect comfort food to lift the spirits and somewhere where the minute you walk through the door you are one of the family then Le Garrick is definitely for you.