“Mon plaisir est le votre”

November 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Ambling around Covent Garden this evening, looking for somewhere to eat, I came across a lovely French restaurant, Mon Plaisir.

According to its website, Mon Plaisir (with the tag-line ‘Mon plaisir est le votre’ – my pleasure is yours), is London’s oldest French restaurant. It was set up in 1972 and for over 50 years has been a family run business.

Located on Monmouth Street, amongst Covent Garden’s ‘Seven Dials‘ shopping area (which is decked out with pinky-purple Christmas lights at the moment), from the outside it looked to be a tiny French restaurant.

But once inside the place opened up. At the front were two rooms (seperated from each other), another at the back, and yet another room upstairs. It felt almost like being in a maze.

Monmouth Street's Christmas Lights

Adorning the walls was French paraphernalia – from maps of France to pictures with french writing on them. French music played, intermittently throughout the meal.

Looking at the menu, written in French, with English underneath (a la carte, although there is also a pre-theatre menu avaliable) I knew immediately I was going to be put out of my foodie ‘comfort zone’ – chicken.

It’s my ‘go-to’ dish when the menu is looking a bit adventurous for my taste. No such luck tonight. No a poulet in sight.

There were however French classics such as snails with garlic, foie gras, French Onion soup (starters), duck confit and steak tartare (mains).

My main course

I ended up opting for the ‘Limande grillee sauce bearnaise ou poelee avec un beurre meuniere et pommes ratte’ (that’s lemon sole with potatoes for you non-francophones).

Now, for me, this was pushing my comfort zone as I’m not a fish fan. And I certainly don’t eat fish with its bones and head included. Tonight I did.

On ordering my dish, the waitress informed me that it is up to the waiting staff to bone the fish (if you so wish to have it boned, as I did), and that she was not permitted to do so anymore after a few customer complaints on her efforts. Erm… okay.

At least she was honest (and she was a lovely waitress in all other respects), but it seemed a bit odd to me. And to my dining companion, who is involved in the restaurant business.

Nevertheless, I ordered the fish (although my companion’s steak was looking pretty tasty) and I somewhat successfully boned the fish myself. I’m a bit proud of myself to be honest. I particularly enjoyed the sauce – although I’m not 100% sure what it was (what a terrible food critic I am being!)

Mmmm…. chocolate! 

Then came the best part of the meal – dessert. I ordered the wonderfully named ‘Contraste Chocopassionnément’ (aka warm chocolate mousse with passion-fruit sorbet).

Anything with chocolate in it and I’m sold. I can assure you it was a delicious as it sounds, though a little rich and towards the end I was struggling to finish it. But finish it I did – who am I to leave such a delectable dessert?

The delicious 'Contraste Chocopassionnément'

Although it was a little out of my normal price range – £70, for two mains and two desserts (and including tip) isn’t too bad. Once in a while.

On atmosphere alone I would return, to try either the lunch or pre-theater menu.

If you are keen to try Mon Plaisir for yourself, head to 21 Monmouth Street (nearest tubes are either Covent Garden or Tottenham Court Road) Monday to Saturday – opening times vary so take a look at the website.

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