Helmed by Alexis Gauthier (formerly Chef Patron at 1-star Roussillon), Gauthier Soho opened its doors in May 2010 to a host of positive reviews, and was recently awarded a first Michelin Star in January of this year – no mean feat for a restaurant still so young. Having now eaten there, it is easy to understand why.
Located in a converted town house on Romily Street in Soho, the dining space, spread over two floors, is a little bit cramped and, unsurprisingly, not entirely suited for purpose. The décor too is rather bland and I can see why this aspect of the restaurant has attracted some criticism. Though by no means my favourite dining room, I personally felt the nature of the venue made for a cosy, romantic atmosphere.
Gauthier offers a choice of 3, 4 or 5 à la carte courses, as well as an 8-course tasting menu. Having had to rule out the tasting menu due to a lack of support from my fellow diners I opted, naturally, for 5 courses from the à la carte. Servings were a bit on the small side so I would recommend at least 4 courses for all but the smallest of eaters. I had:
Honey Duck Foie Gras, Cooked & Raw Apples
Black Winter Truffle Risotto
Soft Fillet of Dover Sole, Baby Squid, Garlic & Parsley, Classic Fish Jus
Cuts of Wild Scottish Venison, Williams Pear, Celeriac Cream, Black Winter Truffle
Golden Louis XV
The Black Winter Truffle Risotto was undoubtedly the star dish – perfect al dente grains of rice, soaked in a creamy flavourful jus, accented with a generous shaving of fragrant black truffle. It was superb. If the risotto was the headline act, the Golden Louis XV was a very capable co-star. This is Gauthier’s much-praised signature chocolate, hazelnut and praline dessert; an ode to his mentor Alain Ducasse, it was wonderfully and suitably decadent – a chocolate lover’s delight…and I am very much an avowed chocolate lover.
If I was to be critical, I would say that Gauthier could push the envelope a bit more at times. He, for the most part, sticks to classical combinations of ingredients, and produces pleasantly-presented, technically flawless plates of food. However some of these dishes can come across as a little boring as a result, lacking in a certain je ne sais quoi if you like. The veal, another of Gauthier’s signatures, is a case in point. Cooked perfectly, it was good, but unspectacular. Having said that, the meal on the whole was thoroughly enjoyable.
In a nutshell…
Very good. Faultless cooking. A couple of outstanding dishes that would grace any restaurant in the world. Fully deserving of its Michelin star.
21 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5AF
Average price: £50-£60
1 Michelin Star