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Mon Plaisir (Restaurant)

Picture of Mon Plaisir in West End, London

21 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, West End, London, WC2H 9DD
Cuisine: French
Tel: 020 7836 7243 | Email to Mon Plaisir | Transport: Covent Garden | Write review

Mon Plaisir Review

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Imagine walking into a part of Paris that has somehow been transplanted right into central London? Well, that’s exactly how it felt when I walked into Mon Plaisir in Covent Garden. It’s almost likened to a kind of geographical travelling machine. It was such a treat, especially after nearly getting crushed on the London Underground (the Circle Line was down and I’ve never experienced anything like it).

There are several (what I would describe as) anglicised French restaurants in and around London but Mon Plaisir is set apart; genuinely and authentically French, despite being based on British soil. Everything from the French staff, to the menu (a good opportunity to practice the language skills), to the French signs and posters, to the infamous bar at the back of the restaurant that was salvaged from a Lyonnais brothel; they all complete the experience!

Throughout the restaurant, the soft, romantic sound of French speaking customers prevails. It’s always a good sign when natives dine at a restaurant. If you want to know where the best Chinese restaurant is, ask a Chinese person. The same applies with French restaurants.

Mon Plasir has four different rooms with contrasting decor, overlaid with brick walling; one particularly styled like a lounge bar in an art deco sense of the word, the second room being likened to a brasserie. Another was akin to a mini art gallery. The final room resembled a little country auberge up in the attic with white wood, books and a collection of antique coffee machines spread thoughout. Each room was filled with a mixture of business peoples, tourists; London based Parisians, families and couples all soaking in whatever was being offered, with soft background music adding to the ambiance of it all.

Apparently some of them have their favourite bit of space that they dine in regularly, and I was reverently re-assured by the waiters that Mon Plasir has many frequent visitors. It’s kind of quaint in here, with chequered table clothes, and an atmosphere that is both buzzing and relaxed at the same time, although the central heating is a tad overdone. However, this is a minor discretion in comparison to the food (mmm...I’m licking my lips in remembrance).

For starters, I’d recommend ‘Pate en eroute de Salmon’, which is essentially salmon pate with a vinaigrette and herb dressing, a creamy, but delightful sensation on the taste buds. For the mains, the roasted duck with apple and chorizo marmalade is an absolutely gorgeous dish. It comes with butternut squash, which initially I mistook for sweet potato.

For side dishes the ‘gratin dan phinois’ (a delicious blend of potatoes, cream, butter and cheese) and the ‘epinards a la crème’ (which is spinach and cream) both make great accompaniments. The dessert menu is simple, but has a good mixture of ice creams, sorbets and almond tarts. Really, the main attraction is not so much the desserts, but the choice of mains and starters. Our host for the evening, Virginia Laine, excitably told what gives this restaurant its special touch: “Everything is made from scratch; our sauces are left to marinate overnight which gives each dish that extra bit of flavour.”

Interestingly enough, this place has quite a bit of history to it. It was founded in 1942 and, according to Laine, Charles de Gaulle used to come here to host his resistance meetings. The restaurant was established initially by the Viala brothers, and brought the Lhermitte family in 1972. It has stayed in the same family to this very present day.

Mon Plaisir is situated right in the heart of the capital’s theatre and does a cracking trade in terms of pre and post theatre dinner deals – three courses for £14:50 which is an absolute bargain basement without compromise on the quality of the service or the cuisine. On the second Monday of every month they also have a special regional dish evening with an accordionist to boot!

The wine list here isn’t expansive, but it’s good, my favourite is the ’Le Grande Noir’, a fruity red that brings together 4 different types of grapes. The capital’s oldest French restaurant has undoubtedly retained all its charm. If you’re looking for culture, history, excellent food and a good vibe, then Mon Plaisir could be the place for you. I know that it certainly is for me! Real individuality and a great antidote to both ‘anglicised’ French restaurants and boring, stuffy modern chains.

Vive la France!
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Customer Reviews for Mon Plaisir

Average (based on 2 votes): 2 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Mon Plaisir.

“We ate here with our 2 children before seeing Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre. This restaurant is deceptive from the outside, having an attractive split level layout at the back. The food was typically and deliciously French. The staff we also very accommodating and fitted us in at the last moment without a booking. Highly recommended, especially for a pre-show meal.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Mr Adam, Darlington (5 years 3 months 5 days ago)

“My favourite French restaurant in London - better than the restaurants in Paris! I would recommend this to everyone who enjoys delicious french cuisine. 5 stars from me!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Bass, Sheffield (7 years 3 months 29 days ago)

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Loved

"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

Hated

"My Gulascheintopf war perfekt and so was the Weissbier. I was in Kingston Steins. I do have a few suggestions for decor and table. 1. you need a little jar of toothpicks on the table to get meat out from..." Which venue is this?

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