Often hailed snail-ed as the best French restaurant in London, L’Escargot has been serving up its signature delicacy to hungry Londoners for over 100 years. Now, that’s a lot of snails.
Part of the Soho furniture, this French bistro has seen the likes of Princess Diana, Coco Chanel, Mick Jagger and Elton John cross its threshold. A trailblazer for London’s fine-dining scene; L’Escargot is everything you’d want and expect from a fancy French restaurant. And somehow so much more.
The history or L’Escargot
Way back in 1986, a guy named Georges Gaudin opened up a French restaurant in Soho, and originally called it Le Bienvenue. It quickly became an extremely popular spot, as it was (supposedly) the first place in England to serve up a certain French delicacy. That delicacy – of course – was snails.
In 1927, the restaurant moved to its current premises – a Georgian townhouse on Greek Street – where Gaudin ran a snail farm in the basement (don’t worry – the snails are far more ethically sourced now). Customers implored Georges to rename the restaurant after the dish it had become oh-so famous for. Et voilà: L’Escargot was born.
These days, James Tyrrell steers L’Escargot’s ship as Head Chef, and he is just as committed to serving up the very best snails in London town as his predecessors were. The menu is also packed full of other delicious French grub.
The original plaster bust sign is still on show above the door. It features an image of M. Gaudin riding a snail, whilst holding a sign that reads ‘slow but sure’ and yes, it’s as bonkers and as brilliant as it sounds. The restaurant also has artworks by Miro, Warhol and Picasso decking the walls and is complete with a secret bar at the top, with a live pianist on hand to serenade you.
The place oozes old-school luxury but not in an ostentatious way. It’s both style and substance – just how we like it. And look, if it’s good enough for Princess Di, it’s certainly good enough for us. Bon Appétit!