Test Driving Bar Des Pres – a Parisian import for French chef Cyril Lignac with a London twist | Road test
So, what should you know about Bar Des Prés?
If you are a French expat living in London, it stands to reason that you already know this new restaurant in Mayfair. The chef behind this is Cyril Lignac who can best be described as a Michelin starred French version of Jamie Oliver. He is therefore on TV a lot, has plenty of restaurants in Paris, but this is his first outing in London.
Where is it?
You’ll find Bar Des Pres in the heart of Mayfair on Albemarle Street, where Indian Accent used to be. The nearest underground is Green Park.
Where should I meet friends for a drink first?
The easiest place is probably the Donovan Bar at Browns across the street or The Clarence pub on Stafford Street nearby.
Where should we sit?
It really depends on how many of you there are and whether you prefer over the counter meals or not. There are two dining rooms – the downstairs one is currently only really used on weekends to begin with. Both have a counter dining area, but we really liked our downstairs cabins for two.
What is on the menu?
Think Japanese with a French influence. If you’ve been to the Parisian version of this restaurant – which appeared to be 99% of the clientele, judging by the way they were greeted on the Saturday lunchtime we were there – then it will be quite different . There, it’s a menu of raw food only. The London menu offers many iconic Parisian dishes, but its scope is considerably wider.
Here’s a flavor:
What about vegetarians and vegans?
There really isn’t a whole lot of vegetarian offerings. With the exception of one key dish, vanilla mashed potatoes (yes, you read that right). Eric’s Vanilla Mashed Potatoes (£ 8) is going to be a real Marmite dish. Made by infusing mash cream with vanilla pods, it gives nearby Comptoir Robuchon a run for its money as Mayfair’s creamiest mash.
Room for dessert?
100% and you should order dishes sooner with that in mind because you’re going to want to order one …
And to drink?
In addition to an inventive cocktail menu, the wine list – as you can imagine from such a famous French chef – is devoted to French wines. And it’s expensive – we’ve spotted a £ 50 bottle but the rest is north and goes all the way up to a 1990 bottle of Chateaux Margaux at £ 2,250. If you’re a rosé lover, try Faustine’s biodynamic Corsican rosé at £ 12 a glass.
In summary :
If you can’t make it to Paris this year, come here instead – after all, all French expats in London do the same. Sure, it’s going to be an expensive meal, but if you’re a fan of the Parisian original it’s actually a lot cheaper to go to the one in London – this maki platter costs 27 euros in Paris for £ 16. in London. Virtually a bargain!
Find out more about the Bar des Prés
Where is it? 16 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4HW
Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @bardespres
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