Friday, 9 November 2012

The Green Man and French Horn

Tarte Vigneron at
The Green Man and French Horn

I normally write about a place I like after a couple of visits but in the case of The Green Man and French Horn I've been a little selfish.  Having been quietly enjoying this place for several weeks I really must share my view of it.  First thing to know is it comes out of the same stable as Terroirs, Brawn and Soif so expect rustic French food and interesting natural wines.  The owners - Ed Wilson and Oli Barker - have a proven formula but if you're expecting the full roll-call of French wines, you need to be aware that this particular stablemate is focused on the Loire Valley.  For me, this doesn't limit my enjoyment, particularly as they keep some delicious organic and biodynamic examples of the region.  An unfiltered crisp appley Sauvignon Primeur the colour of blushed apricots has captured my heart, along with a spicy, red fruit Le Tel Quel Pinot Noir, both £5.75 a glass.

The food too is focused on the Loire area of France, but given how far this extends, again it's far from limiting.  Portions are generous, even the Plat du Jour which includes a glass of wine for £10 is a hearty plateful.  Vendee Ham with mogette beans is typical and delivers a creamy bowl of white beans topped with slices of salty ham.  The full menu offers simply prepared dishes such as exemplary rillette & cornichons, tranches of terrine, rillons, endive and mustard, crisply fried whitebait or a comforting dish of girolles and artichoke topped with a warm egg yolk.  Meats follow the seasons so, at the moment, you can expect maybe partridge with celeriac, ceps and pickled walnuts or rabbit cooked in cider.  Seasonal fish dishes might include a bowl of mussels with fennel and dill, grilled sardines with garlic and parsley or even the Loire freshwater fish, Zander, served with a traditional beurre blanc.  The pudding section is equally strong, from an irresistible boozy apple Tarte Vigneron to white wine poached pear with salted butter caramel and sable biscuit.  Expect to pay around £80 for two including wine and service.

The Green Man & French Horn was, you will not be surprised to learn, formerly a pub.  I've lost count of the number of people who have told me they have fond memories of it.  Smack bang in the heart of theatreland, the pub has gone but you'll get good wine and honest French food very well made from top quality ingredients.  I honestly can't think where this sort of thing is done better in London.  The staff are very good, particularly Laura behind the bar with her knowledge of wines, and the cosy pub atmosphere has been retained.  For me it's a very welcome find and not only because it's in a street of otherwise nondescript food.

The Green Man and French Horn
54 St Martin's Lane
London WC2N 4EA
Tel: 020 7836 2645

MARCH 2015 UPDATE: Sadly, now closed -  go around the corner to Terroirs at 5 William IV Street WC2N 4DW