Tuesday, 26 July 2011

From French Provencal Cuisine to Bonne Gourmand!

Walking down Chancery Lane you have some of the Finest British Architecture. City bankers and professionals wearing their business attire looking rather dashing. You can't miss the front entrance of Cigalon, the Victorian pillars were draped with natural trees. I thought how Idyllic...

I had high expectations because this Provencal French Restaurant was created from the Michelin Starred Chef of ClubGascon. I have recently dined there back in June and I was blown away by their Rabbit Ballotine and Frasier. Let's stop reminiscing and get back to yet an experience at Cigalon I will never forget.

As we entered everyone was amazed by the interior decor, high ceilings encased in glass and the abstract aesthetically pleasing chandeliers. The restaurant certainly had a Now Wow Factor, as soon as you entered.
The handsome waiter gave very good recommendations and interpretations of the menu. Trust me this is a bonus as I have been to places, where I have asked them to recommend or explain how the special of the day is cooked. I get this weird stare and a response 'it is good madame'. The staff at Cigalon knew the menu and you can tell that they have tasted the food.
 Seemingly as we were eating fish and white meat for mains, I decided to order the Domaine du Colombier 2009 Petit Chablis. I really enjoy drinking wine, the Chablis is a dry crisp wine that has wonderful Citric Aromas. I loved their wine bar modern and clean, one can only dream, having a bar like that at home. We sat in the very comfortable lavender booths, it was relaxing and we felt exclusively in our own special experience.

They offered us complimentary Olive bread with an Black Olive Tapenade.
I am a big fan of olives, the tapenade was thick and made with fresh olive not puree. I am very accustomed to having my bread warm so that was one thing that can be improved. There's nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread and the butter just melting on the crust.

On to the starters Chicory & Snail FricassĂ©e, “Mont Ventoux” Ham, Soft Boiled Egg & Soldier. Snails are not what I normally choose to eat, since Heston Blumenthal's snail porridge, restaurants like St Johns and Cigalon have jumped onto the Food Fad Wagon. Only one criticism the snails should be fresh not in brine. The Mont Ventoux ham was lightly cured and not salty. The egg was warm and still runny in the middle just the way I like my eggs poached. It did leave me wondering whether this was Provencal France answer to breakfast?

I am a keen fan of scallops, I often try to get cooking inspiration from eating at restaurants. "Indulging feeds the mind, Inspiration feeds soul." So I couldn't resist ordering the Roasted King Scallops, White Asparagus Emulsion & Poutargue. The display of the scallops was a burst of fireworks, the moist scallops with a creamy blue cheese risotto just melted in my mouth.

So as my friend glazed over the handsome waiter, she decided to have his recommendation Jour du Poissin, Seared Tuna steak on a bed of Seasonal Salad. There's always a good excuse to have a bite from someone else's plate! The tuna was fresh, lightly seared and soft, so soft that it just glided on to my fork, very well seasoned, the salad was crunchy drizzled with an herb olive oil dressing.

The metallic porcelain plates gave a brass shimmer to the Suckling Pig Belly, Ceps Polenta & Wild Garlic Sauce, the pork was succulent and the crackling was crispy. The garlic sauce was not over powering and accompanied the pork well. I think this was my favourite dish of the evening.

Home Smoked Salmon PavĂ© with Macaroni Gratin, Samphire &Oyster "Sabayon," The salmon was smoked in oak, which added the rustic flavour. The Al dente macaroni gratin was the emulsion of Provencal French cuisine with historic influences from Italy.  The samphire makes a great accompaniment to fish. Samphire looks like little asparagus shoots, but eaten it has a crunchy texture with a burst salty juice. Sounds strange but you a can normally have samphire instead of adding salt to seafood (e.g my favourite scallops with chorizo on a bed lightly tossed sampire).

Your probably wondering where is the dessert? I am firm lover of dessert Chocolate Fondant and all things sweet. However the ladies had their eyes on cocktails at the bar next door.

The venue: Cigalon
Cuisine: French - Provencal 
Date visited: 20/07/11
The damage: £128 party of 3
The food: 8 out 10
The service: 9 out 10

Will I recommend Cigalon: Yes, the service was brilliant and the food was tasty. The mix of Provencal Fad, relaxed ambience and the quirkiness of the decor worked well. Tres bien!
Will I return: Yes, Maybe Soon
Have I had better: Oh yes I definitely have but the experience here is one that is memorable.

Cigalon on Urbanspoon


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  2. Great hotel, a perfect base for a visit to London! The staff was friendly and helpful, the rooms were spotless and this hotel provided a perfect base for our weekend in London. Find out your best reception venue in London wedding venue