This legendary restaurant in Belgravia is celebrating its 60th birthday, and brings back memories of Peter Morrell’s first tentative steps into the world of fine cuisine
I came to London a very long time ago to pursue a career in the IT industry, working as one of the UK’s first computer programmers. My colleagues were of a similar age, mainly from the provinces, and all single. We were based in Westminster and in the evening were all keen to exploit the treasures that the capital had on offer. We would set off after work with no particular plan, but we almost always ended up in a restaurant.
One of the meals that made a great impression on me was at La Poule au Pot. Gone were the Wimpey bars, fish and chips shops, and pub grub, suddenly we were eating in a proper restaurant with what we regarded as exotic French food. It was from this point that I became aware of the wonders of the culinary world.
So I was delighted to find out that La Poule au Pot is still open. Sister of British restaurant Maggie Jones’s in Kensington, La Poule au Pot has been a Belgravia institution years, and many of its staff have been there for decades. The alluring interior, with its intimate nooks and festoons of dried flowers and bric-à-brac, has changed very little since the 60s and offers an authentic re-creation of “paysan” France. It is no surprise that La Poule au Pot has been voted “best for romance” in the whole of London in Hardens guide for the nth year in succession.
Alongside the wonderfully atmospheric ambience, the menu is classic French too: excellent ingredients, generous portions and fine cooking, presented with exuberant panache. Classic dishes include escargots, Coq au vin, Guinea fowl with apple and Calvados sauce and Tarte Tatin. The wine list is honest, thoughtful and interesting.
In warmer months, the extensive outdoor seating area makes the restaurant one of the most desirable alfresco destinations in the capital.
I must go back, and although my life has changed, I get the feeling that La Poule au Pot still offers that same level of culinary excitement that I felt about the food all those years ago.
La Poule au Pot
231 Ebury Street, London SW1W 8UT
Tel: 020 7730 7763
To book – firstname.lastname@example.org