"An unassumingly retro menu and fantastic value for money"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Primrose Hill’s L’Absinthe has been around for five years now, making it a veteran compared to some of the restaurants that have previously lived at 40 Chalcot Road. Their combination of classic French food (confit de canard, steak frites, escargots) and low prices for the area have proved a hit; mains average £11 to £15, and this is after all the home of celeb haunts like The Engineer and pet shops frequented by the likes of Sadie Frost and erm, Imogen Thomas.
We start with the salade Lyonnaise, but don’t be fooled by the term “salade”, for this is a bowl filled with smoky bacon lardons, crispy croutons and a poached egg, with the curly lettuce leaves drizzled in mustardy dressing the least important element. The French onion soup is another filling option, with heaps of sweet onion topped with a hunk of bread covered in melted cheese. Clearly this is the food that winter was made for.
The confit of duck has meat so soft you could hold a drumstick up and it would fall off, and it’s coated in crispy, flavoursome skin, paired with tasty savoy cabbage and baby onions. The beef Bourguignon has the piercing aroma of thyme, tender beef, carrots and a large portion of mashed potato on the side to soak up the fragrant stew.
For dessert, there’s a rich chocolate mousse flavoured with coffee, and apple tarte tatin with ice cream, the latter could be a little warmer, but it’s a tiny point in an otherwise great meal.
About two years ago the owner bought the premises next door and opened Spirit of L’Absinthe, a café and deli selling quiches, croque monsieurs and Toulouse sausages, food that is several notches above average sandwich shop fare and that has saved me from many lunchtime hunger pangs. With the demise of Trojka a few weeks ago Primrose Hill lost one of its few affordable, quality eateries, so thank heavens for L’Absinthe, with its unassumingly retro menu and fantastic value for money.
Leila reviewed L'Absinthe on Mon 26 Nov 2012