I’ve written about Le Vacherin before, when I visited for dinner, and it was only dinnertime that I’d visited until about a month ago, when we went for lunch. It was at Thring for Your Supper where I first learned of the bargain of a lunch he’d had there. On Sundays, when he went, it’s £19.50 for three courses; on all other days, it’s £16.50 for three courses and £14.50 for two. (I notice that the website has been updated this month to £19.95 and £16.95/£14.95, respectively).
Luckily for me, Chiswick is but a gentle bike/bus ride away from home and we chose the former option that Saturday. I parked directly across from the restaurant so it could be watched at all times – I still freak out about bike thieves. Cue Blai – “No one wants to steal your bike.” Well, yes, perhaps my vintage folder isn’t exactly on the hot list but I love it so much.
We were the first into the restaurant (I was hungry!) and we were seated in a prime spot by the window (good for my incessant looking out at my bike). Bread and butter were brought out almost immediately – the butter being one of my favourites in London as one gets both plain and anchovy. The butter should have been a little softer though – they were still fridge cold.
From the lunch menu, I chose with the Bayonne ham with celeriac remoulade to start. It’s exactly what it says on the menu – a generous pile of thinly sliced Bayonne ham (similar to prosciutto) drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pepper alongside a slightly smaller pile of grated celeriac in a mayonnaise-based dressing. A bite of this, a bite of that – they balance each other nicely – the saltiness of the ham and the creaminess of the remoulade.
For Blai, the endive salad with Roquefort and melon – he adores blue cheese with endives and found that the addition of the sweet melon entirely complemented this classic duo.
I wanted something fishy and light for my main course and so chose the sardines with roasted peppers. Two whole grilled, filleted sardines lay atop a mound of sweet roasted red pepper and fresh endive that was just starting to wilt under the heat of the fish. Nothing fancy but it hit the spot.
Blai also wanted something piscine and ordered the smoked haddock, mustard sauce. I can’t remember much about this dish other than he enjoyed it very much and cleaned his plate. It does look lovely!
Summer Pudding is surely an unusual offering from a classically French restaurant! Blai’s dessert definitely looked like a prime example of this bread based, fruit stuffed sweet.
My Île Flottante was perfect. Seriously, this was the nicest one I’ve ever had and I nearly licked my bowl to prove it. The poached meringue was fluffy soft, the creme anglaise was beautifully vanilla-y, the caramel sauce not too sweet and the almond slices were caramelised and crunchy. Perfect.
What a total bargain of a lunch this was! If the thought of getting to Chiswick makes your head ache, it looks like Le Cassoulet, Malcolm John’s second restaurant in Croydon, is equally as good. I was sad though to see that Le Vacherin was mostly empty for lunch that day – perhaps it was the middle of the summer hols. I shall return for more lunches in the future (especially since I hear their chicken liver parfait is gorgeous)!
76-77 South Parade
London W4 5LF