Mon Plaisir is apparently the oldest French restaurant in London, and from its quaint, authentic interior I can believe it. Located on Monmouth Road, a cobbled street in Covent Garden, you could almost be in Paris.
It is a treasure trove of trinkets inside; through a little archway, we were seated in the main area of the restaurant, red checked tablecloths cover the tables and pretty little pictures decorate the walls.
Both the daily lunch menu and the a la carte were on offer, and we chose to mix and match. I chose the very seasonal Veloute de Potiron et Huile de Noisettes (Pumpkin Veloute with Hazelnut oil) to start: it was absolutely delicious, creamy and velvety, sweet and filling and served in a lovely little tureen. My dad chose the Salade de Canard sauvage aux Mangues (wild duck and mango salad) which was served with a little too much raw onion for our taste, running the risk of distracting from the smoky duck aroma and flavours.
For mains my Perdreau roti en croute (roast partridge in a pastry crust) was a typically French dish, and though it had lovely flavour and was beautifully prepared, I found it too heavy for a lunchtime meal, perhaps a poor choice on my part. The bird was served with a confit of cabbage and a very delicious rich and creamy Celeriac gratin. The Limande grillee sauce béarnaise ou poelee avec un beurre meuniere et pommes ratte (Lemon Sole served grilled with potatoes) was gratefully received and polished off by my dad, who admitted it was one of his very favourite childhood dishes. The large impressive fish lay regally on the plate, wonderfully cooked, even with his high standards, he seemed very satisfied with the Mon Plaisir version of this famous, familiar dish.
For desserts it was the tarte du jour that won our vote, a caramelised apple slice made with soft fruit and custard and encased in crumbly pastry, just as it should be. The chocolate mousse was nice too, not too rich and very airy though it wasn’t special enough and perhaps needed an extra dollop of cream. We finished the meal with wonderfully strong coffees.
I felt almost surprised to walk out into Covent Garden, London after our lovely long lunch in Mon Plaisir. The place, food and character is all so reminiscent of France, a country that I am so fond of, it is like a second home to me. But if nothing else it was a lovely déjà vu... and luckily with a trip to Paris just round the corner I don’t have long to wait for the real thing.
Visit the Mon Plaisir website to book here.