Where: Cigalon, Chancery Lane London
When: A Thursday evening at 7.30pm (Booktable offer £20 for 3-course and a champagne cocktail)
Cuisine: Provencal cuisine with a modern twist.
Ambiance: Beautiful ornate entrance that widens out to a quiet dining room filled with cosy booths and banquets. The muted pastel tones and the stunning high ceilings adorned with unique light fittings complete with leafy accessories brings the feeling of Provence into the heart of London’s central business district. Even with the open plan kitchen towards the back of the restaurant and the close proximity of other banquette diners the overall atmosphere was calm and peaceful – a welcome refuge from the working day.
Service: Exceptional service with waiters able to offer suggestions and explanations to some of the more detailed dishes. At times we felt that we were interrupted a bit more than was completely necessary but that was likely down to them having more staff on than they really required.
Whilst perusing the set menu we were brought fresh warm bread and a tapenade that had a good course texture and zing without being overly acidic.
For a starter I had the poached salmon and spiced carrots. The salmon was a sizeable chunk and deliciously pink in the middle sliced as soft as butter and had a delicate flavour. This was sat on a bed of sweet potato puree which contrasted beautifully with and balanced out the spiced carrots. My dining partner had the baked beetroot that I was assured was equally delicious.
Main course I stuck with the fish option which was, grilled bream fillet, cima di rapa & tonnato sauce. The skin of the fish was lovely and crispy but slightly over salted for my tastes, however the fish underneath was grilled to perfection and served with the cima – which when it arrived revealed it to be a cross between broccoli and spinach – and a cream sauce. The Cima was a revelation – I already am rather obsessed with green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli so this is another to add to the list of sides. The sauce was okay but I would have preferred it either on the side or just a drizzle over the top, for me it was extremely rich and my plate was swimming slightly.
The dessert was rosemary cream pot & morello cherry coulis which was served in a delightful clay pot and was tasty with the herb flavour coming through at the end. I would eat it again but it wasn’t overly memorable.
(NB: Three choices for each course including one vegetarian option)
Champagne cocktail was served in the traditional champagne saucers that I love so they were already onto a winner. A well-made and refreshing cocktail that actually tasted as though it had been made with some care and attention and NOT a premixed sugar or juice sloshed into a glass of weak prosecco.
During dinner we shared a carafe of the house white wine which was dry, crisp and perfectly quaffable. Then post dinner – and as it was still quite early – we had another cocktail!
It should be noted that the wine and spirit list is extensive and really rather impressive – especially the gin varieties and attention paid to calvados!
Price: Set menu is usually £26 which is still pretty reasonable.
We had the £20 for 3-course & cocktail + carafe of house wine + a cocktail = £40 inc. service.
Rating: 9 out of 10 – definitely recommend and will certainly be returning here as well as visiting their sister bar next door – Baranis