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Le Salon Prive Restaurant, Twickenham

Octopus Carpaccio, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham
I am delighted to be back in St Margarets village and sitting down for a tasting menu at French Bistro styled restaurant - Le Salon Prive. Its almost been a few years since the new owners took over and completely refurbished the restaurant previously known as Brula. Now, it is much more contemporary, there is pin cushioned seating, new flooring with the more original features intact - including the beautiful stained glass windows. Le Salon Prive is overseen by accomplished chef, Gianluca Di Monaco, who worked and trained with Pierre Koffmann. Gianluca graciously presented us with a five course tasting menu, each paired with a different wine to compliment every dish.

Celeriac Soup, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

If I had to describe the food at Le Salon Prive I would say it's classic French cuisine. There is however on this occasion a few Mediterranean style dishes - for instance Octopus Carpaccio and Monkfish served with squid ink. We also have a scallop dish served with Black Pudding, all brought together by Gianluca's classic French training and execution. The dining area has a lovely ambience, there is seating further to the back of the restaurant as well as another private room with its own bar, upstairs, that can accommodate 30 people for corporate events and weddings, etc.

Scallops with Black Pudding, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

Service is attentive and formal, but casual enough that you are comfortable - I found the Maitre d' very conversational and friendly not only with us, but other patrons as well. We started off with a Celeriac Soup with Oxtail and deep fried Shallots. This was beautifully presented and served with a classic French table wine from the Languedoc region of southern France. I thought the Oxtail in the soup was the star - tender, delicious savoury flavour, not a tiny bit dry. The soup was creamy with a wonderful thick texture, I would have loved to have more of the celeriac flavour shine through, but that is being really picky, because overall it was splendid.

Octopus Carpaccio, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

Following from the soup was Scallops served with Black Pudding and Jerusalem Artichoke puree. This is one of the best executed plates of the night. Scallops I could have easily eaten with a spoon, they were incredibly fresh, cooked perfectly - caramalised on top yet soft in the middle and not a touch over done. The Black Pudding was one of my favourites and balanced nicely with earthy, sweet flavours. I couldn't fault this especially when washed down with a Chablis from Burgundy.

Beef fillet, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

The courses continued with an eye catching Octopus Carpaccio, beautifully presented thinly sliced pieces of Octopus so tender that each morsel pulled away effortlessly. It was served with purple potatoes, sweet potato crisps, cauliflower and sour cream. I thought this Chile chardonnay was the best wine of the night and gave a nice balance to the delicate flavours of the Octopus. Following this we were served Monkfish with fennel, black Squid Ink, crispy Kale and a delicious spicy salsa. The aniseed notes from the fennel and the Sauvignon Blanc worked perfectly with the fish, which incidentally, was served on the bone (on the bone means flavour!).

Front Dining Room, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

Finally the last protein dish was once again a beautifully cooked beef served with potato mash, beet and roasted bone marrow. For me the quality of the produce/meat was quite evident in the dish, and throughout the whole meal for that matter. It was incredibly soft and juicy beef, a lovely jus and crispy pancetta to bring all the flavours and textures together perfectly. There was a level of detail presented on the plate not seen at other French bistro's around - the beet had been sculptured into florets and the potato mash had been piped intricately. The flavours were spot on, the pairing wine - a delicious Chilean Malbec, and the little extra of bone marrow made this an all round complete and very satisfying dish. We finished the tastings with real honeycombe served on ice cream with a Fig Tart.

Wine Pairings, Fig Tart with Fresh Honeycombe, Le Salon Prive, Twickenham

I found the wine at Le Salon perfectly good as well and the choices matched nicely and weren't all French wines. I find often dessert wines too overpowering - the Muscat was an obvious choice but for me, I think a nice German Riesling would have done the job if we are going off piste with the wine choices. I would love to see more local folk head out to experience Le Salon Prive, it is top notch dining and a great local restaurant in a lovely part of Twickenham.

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