Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The Victims: Julie, Feathers, Anna, Stacey, Kellie, Jen
The Damage: £35ish. No booze.
The Background: It's our annual Secret Santa exchange. Feathers has coordinated who gets who again this year using elfster.com, which even lets you ask anonymous questions of your assigned Secret Santa recipient. So I knew that Anna wore a size 9 shoe (American sizes) and that with a baby on the way, short stories would be her preference in literature. I know I'm biased, but I do think I was quite a good Secret Santa. I got Anna some nice stuff.
Jen has suggested Le Garrick as our destination and I can see why. If I were taking me on a date, I might take me here. It's dark and candlelit and romantic and it is full of nooks and crannies. We have one of the basement nooks to ourselves–there are a few tables at street-level, but the cute-factor is probably higher in the basement–and it is perfectly cozy for our party of seven.
The Service: Our server is nice but has a tendency to walk off mid-order. One person asks for a Coke, the server says "sure," and then she jets off while the rest of us are still jones'ing for a cocktail. For the record though, we all abstained from the juice during the course of the evening and no one looked at us funny, which was nice, particularly given that we were in a wine bar.
The Starters: So…the baguette slices arrive and they are perfectly acceptable. We order the charcuterie and some cheese that is described as fondue. It is a tub of melted cheese which I would, if I were a better blogger and foodaphile, know the name of (the cheese, that is). You can't go wrong with a tub of melted cheese among seven gals. We were quite content.
The Mains: For mains, I went with the cassoulet, which I became enamored of during my time in Paris. (Strangely, I've never covered any of the Paris restaurants I ate it.) The cassoulet is chock full of beans–and I'm not convinced they are fully cooked. One sausage, split open. And a duck leg? It was okay. But I felt like it was a lot of beans. Firm beans. Nott being a cassoulet expert, I can't tell you if this is or isn't the right way to let ou cass.
I am sitting here with Feathers as I write this a week or two later…she had the steak and chips and peppercorn sauce and she says the steak was one of the better ones she's had in London. (Also, she's just added that the melted cheese starter was "damn good.")
The Dessert: I wasn't really planning on dessert, but once everyone else placed their order, I took the leap. Tarte banane for me, and it was a surprisingly light and delicious treat, although I am sure there were 700 calories hidden in there somewhere.
The Verdict: if someone asked me for a romantic venue, I might send them here.