Review of Le Relais de Venise – Soho
Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote, or more simply ‘L’entrecote’ is somewhat of a French institution. It was founded in 1959 and now has multiple restaurants in Paris, London as well two in New York and one in Bahrain and Hildalgo, Mexico.
The concept is simple; there is a single set menu consisting of a green leaf salad with walnuts and mustard dressing followed by two courses of Steak frites in secret sauce. What if you don’t like meat? Well, you can either fuck off or simply pick from the enormous selection of desserts (which we’ll get to later).
I visited Le Relais de Venise L’entrecote for a business lunch. My visit coincided with one of the three days of summer London experiences each year and the restaurant was opened up to make the most of it. Fortunately we were seated next to windows that opened up onto the street. The waitress greeted us (oddly enough, the staff are almost always exclusively women, often French or of continental European abstract and are dressed like French maids) and explained the menu. We ordered the steak rare along with a Staropramen and pilsner (the extensive wine menu is worth exploring when eating in the evening).
The beer arrived promptly followed in short order by the salad. The salad was very lightly dressed in mustard and a good way to get me into the mood for meat. The steak followed. The restaurant refers to it’s steak as “L’entrecote’ or “Porte Malliot” after the founding restaurant in the 17th arrondissement in Paris. We can call it sliced, boneless Rib-Eye steak. The steak was rare and smothered in secret sauce (if you’re curious about what this sauce is you can find more detail from the original source here or in english.
The steak is good. Combined with the secret sauce it’s very good. The steak was tasty and had good marbling but was not super tender. The first course of steak is about 100gm of L’entrecote and the second serving about 50gm. I could have eaten twice as much. The frites are crispy (perhaps a little too crispy) and are served in large volume. The frites mix well with the secret sauce.
No trip to Le Relais de Venise is complete without testing one of the best dessert menus in town. My favourite is ‘Le Vacherin’, a beautiful yet formidable tower of delicious calories bathed in chocolate sauce (or more precisely meringue, cream, biscuit and icecream). It is not to be missed.
Le Relais de Venise offer a solid product. The steak is good even if the serving of it is on the smaller side. The price is mid market and the service is formal and a little stiff rather than casual or friendly. The set menu of salad and two courses of Steak frites currently sets you back £24 before service charges.