The menu at Le Cafe Anglais is one of the most enchanting in London. It includes lots of lovely things that you want to eat, and is extensive without making it too difficult to choose. At the top of the carte is a selection of hors d’oeuvres including Parmesan custard with anchovy toast that the London food world now associates with this brasserie. Next comes a fine selection of oysters and a seasonal selection of first courses. The main course options include a range of ingredients cooked on the fiery rotisserie that can be seen from the dining room.
Rowley Leigh, the chef patron, is one of London’s long-established restaurant personalities, highly regarded by his peers, by very hard-to-please critics, by past employees and by loyal customers alike. Every element of this place appears to have Rowley’s stamp of approval, from the menu graphics and the wine list to the evocative name, which sends you on a journey of the imagination to 19th-century Paris.
The stylish Art Deco dining room boasts high ceilings, angular chandeliers that shed a soft light and huge windows that allow natural light to flood in. A recently added bar and oyster display now enables locals to visit more often without staying for lunch or dinner. I recently called in for a glass of wine and a few nibbles before heading off to dinner at the great Sally Clarke’s restaurant just up the road. Rowley is also one of the country’s pre-eminent cookery writers. His weekly column in the Financial Times is unmissable.
Whiteleys Shopping Centre, 8 Porchester Gardens, W2 4DB, Tel. + 020 7221 1415
Opinion – Foodsessed on Le Cafe Anglais restaurant in Bayswater:
Clever, well prepared French fare is served amidst great big windows, swish banquettes and lovely art deco decor suggesting a vintage ocean liner at chef and owner Rowley Leigh’s airy brasserie. Atop Whiteleys shopping centre on Queensway; adding to the pleasurable experience are friendly, efficient staff, fairly priced wines and a contented buzz from the customers.