L’Escargot

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There is a restaurant in the Soho district of London called L’Escargot that is owned by the famous/infamous Marco Pierre White. My daughters and I have dined there three times, and each time has been a perfect experience.

The food is exceptional, and not too over-the-top, which sometimes makes me a little crazy. The service is perfect. The ambiance is lovely. We’ve always relied on the in-house sommelier, who has always been successful with wine choices, as well.

The reason I wanted to write a post on the restaurant has a lot to do with Marco Pierre White. He’s a hulking monster of a man, with a kind of bad-boy sexiness that really intrigues me, as well as a lot of other women. It’s also what’s gotten him into trouble on many occasions, according to his autobiography*.

In one post earlier this year, I wrote about my food experiences in the U.K., and how things have obviously changed from the days when the U.K. culinary world had a terrible reputation primarily based on its bland food. I’ve been lucky enough to spend weeks in Ireland, Scotland, as well as in England, and have been thrilled with the obvious “improvements.”

In this post I wrote that Marco Pierre White played an integral role in changing the course of all things culinary. I’ve read his book, but many others as well that focus on that period of time in culinary history, and it’s pretty obvious that he was one of the first of few to shake things up in restaurant kitchens.

Interestingly enough, I was bombarded by quite a few males who commented how Marco Pierre White is a worthless human being and blah blah blah – these comments have all been removed – and I was quite shocked at how Mr. White could be disrespected. It was also strange that in these comments I was “corrected” although my statements were based on my personal experiences. This all was very eye opening to me, and I almost quit blogging. I actually asked two men to quit following me, because they really hadn’t read my words at all.

But, fortunately, I didn’t quit blogging, because I realized these people had real problems. I really don’t understand people who feel they must be critical in comments at all, but then, I’m just one of those “let’s all be nice” kind of persons.

As a side note, I’ve never had a London taxi driver who didn’t hate Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver. Maybe because they’re exports? I think in this country we quite like and admire our famous chefs.

Recently I was watching Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, and on this show he actually met up with Marco Pierre White. They went hunting together and it was a very interesting show. They make quite a bad-boy pair, although ever since Mr. Bourdain had a baby he’s mellowed. He even quit smoking. Mr. White still smokes.

But in the show’s introduction, Anthony Bourdain said that Marco Pierre White had single handedly changed the course of England’s culinary journey. Single handedly!!! I had only said that he played an integral role! So take that Mr. Obnoxious male commenters!!!

Another really interesting tidbit, for those of you who don’t know, when Mr. White retired some years ago, he withdrew all of his Michelin stars. He felt he didn’t deserve them when he wouldn’t actually be at his restaurants. I feel that is very humble and noble.

He still owns quite a few restaurant other than L’Escargot, but I wanted to mention my experiences there because of the perfection involved. Here is my daughter’s starter of sardines one night.
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If you have ever watched the show “Hell’s Kitchen,” then you’re aware that Gordon Ramsay is a stickler for the highest level of quality. The competing chefs are supposed to have perfection as their goal. Risotto must be cooked properly. Fish must be cooked properly. No piece of rotten lettuce on the plate. Medium rare is medium rare – nothing other.

And having unfortunately dined in establishments over many years where perfection is never aspired to, I take having a great meal in a great restaurant very seriously. That means you’re never bothered by the staff. Every one is polite. You can ask questions and you get answers. And the food is perfect. And this is why we continue to return to L’Escargot.

I can’t remember for the life of me what this is, but I know it was good!!

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Here is a photo when I went with my younger daughter on our apartment-finding trip to London in 2010.
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Here I am with my two daughters a few years ago when we went in December. I didn’t have bangs yet, but that’s me.

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I absolutely adore going to a perfect restaurant. It’s what they all should be. Thank you.

* Marco Pierre White’s autobiography, The Devil in the Kitchen is a fabulous read. It’s on my kindle, but here’s the photo of the actual book.

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26 thoughts on “L’Escargot

  1. I’ve only been to L’Escargot once, a few years ago, and it’s great. As for Marco Pierre White, I’m really surprised to read of some people’s negative reactions. A lot of the chefs I’ve interviewed for my blog have talked of him as the most important influence on contemporary British cooking and my experience is that he’s pretty much revered. I was lucky enough to go to his restaurant Harvey’s in Wandsworth in early 1990s and he was still in the kitchen himself and signed a copy of White Heat for me; it remains one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

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    • Oh you are so lucky. What a fabulous experience to actually meet him and get a signed cookbook!
      I think there’s just a lot of ego with chefs, and that’s to be understood. But I wish there wasn’t so much jealousy.

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  2. Perhaps hating chefs is a man thing, I don’t want to get into an argument here lol, but sorry to hear you got some unkind reactions to what you wrote. I personally find Mr Ramsey a little irritating to watch on TV, he can’t stand still for a minute and must swear. I have heard that the food is nice, but would have no idea. Somehow I’ve never been interested in eating at a Michelin starred restaurant although I love to see the photos ;)
    I must say I’ve eaten at Jamie’s Italian though, and it was so-so. Somewhat disappointing. But then it’s a different brand altogether. Nothing like perfection in service either :P I do rather like Jamie and what he has come to stand for though.
    I’m going to look more into Mr White, he’s not as much of a TV personality as the other two, and not as flamboyant. Interesting though, the claims made about him! Lovely photos, looks like you all had some lovely times. Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in London! :)

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    • You’re possibly right about the chef hating thing being a man thing.
      We did have reservations at a Gordon Ramsey dinner once, and unfortunately had to cancel. Fortunately they were able to fill the reservation or I would have been charged.
      Marco Pierre White did have at least one tv show that I know of, but I think he just wasn’t as well known here in the US and it only lasted one season. I find him really fascinating. You should read his bio if you’re interested. But then, I love reading chef’s bios.
      Oh, we love London. And the food!!!!!

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  3. An outstanding fine dining experience can be a life changing experience! Marco Pierre White has been spending a lot of time in Australia appearing In Masterchef and hosting the whole Professional Masterchef series. I have the utmost respect for him. There was a time in Melbourne from the early 90s when we had a group of chefs known as the Brit Pack, all Marco Pierre White acolytes, all driven to achieve excellence. I was privileged to dine in many of their restaurants on several occasions and each time was perfect. I’m glad you didn’t stop blogging!!

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    • Thank you, that’s sweet. Those two guys really shocked me! Like I said, they weren’t challenging historical facts, they were challenging my opinions. Very strange.
      The Brit pack sounds so funny, but what a privilege for you! There’s nothing wrong with perfection when it comes to the dining experience!

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  4. Great post .. about a great restaurant and food experience. And the photo of you 3 BEAUTIFUL ladies very good.You and your daughters are all beautiful.
    I had a terrible experience at Marco’s restaurant The Canteen, through staff and owners attitude – but that was before he got his act together again.

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      • Yes, he nearly lost everything … but he has come back big time .. a lot to do with Unilever and Knorr .. he are very talent chef and what a waste it had been.
        Restaurant business is not for the weak, long hours … constantly working against the clock and the guests. Working most days .. and all red days too .. and long days. After work comes need to come down and relax and that is when the drugs are close to hands and specially alcohol. Work hard and play hard, just like the artists with their tours. So happy that I never felt into that trap, so easy.

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  5. Marco’s book is one of the few foodie autobiographies I have not read. Must remedy that. I absolutely hate it when we go to a “famous” restaurant and have an average meal. Glad to know where to go if we are ever in the UK.

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    • It’s a fabulous read. You need a glossary for some of the British words – fortunately my daughter lives in London and so I was able to ask her!
      Unfortunately we had to cancel dinner at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant one day because of an accident. I know it would have been fabulous.

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  6. I’ve only recently heard of Marco Pierre White. He’s been over in Oz doing some reality cooking show. I haven’t watched it. I’m glad you had a wonderful dining experience not just once but three times. I think the sign of a good restaurant is when they’re consistent xx

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    • I just heard that he’s doing Masterchef in Australia, which is one of my favorite shows here. Maybe there’s some way I could watch it here.
      Consistency in restaurants is very important, isn’t it?!!!

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  7. I love this post. Me and my husband will have to try this restaurant. You and your daughters make a very glamorous trio. I’m a Londoner born and bread (only moved to surrey 2 yrs ago) and I think it is typical of Londoners to hate anyone who is successful. Our culture can be quite negative. It is not like America where success and achievement is praised. I think Londoners could learn a thing or two from the more positive attitude I see in the American people I have met in my life. Xxxx

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  8. It is interesting. No ones perfect. However when I was at university I did notice that the American students seemed better equipped to deal with critisicism than the English students. I am sure it’s somehow linked to our preference for self loathing and a pessimistic view of life.

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