Grace Dent reviews the “luxurious” Serge et le Phoque in the London Evening Standard
This is how you whip through £300 in a luxury, French-influenced, Euro-elite magnet like Serge et le Phoque. The water is Nordic Still and costs £9, although, to be fair, they did not charge us for the large squares of dry-looking focaccia. We shared a bottle of the most cost-friendly Pinot Grigio at around £45, and quickly, as the starters appeared, realised we’d need another. A ceviche of Sicilian red prawn and turbot with passionfuit was genuinely delightful. Sharp, meaty, welcome. Another starter of a pale Cévennes onion soup lacked any meaningful trace of onion, but definitely boasted several assertive olives. The foie gras starter was as life-enhancing as tiny cubes of liver diced into a clear broth, poured from a white china teapot, can possibly be.
We ordered a main of pigeon with arroz negro and boudin noir, a small plate of darkly umami protein and carbs that left my guest wondering why I’d spent 24 hours fighting for his seat (to which the answer is: ‘Shut up and eat your tiny bowl of grilled broccoli with sesame’). My monkfish was delightful, because monkfish is always delightful. It came with radicchio, which we can’t hold against it. Small suggestions of trimmed lamb sat close to puddles of pommes purée and slivers of smoked eel. We left two puddings — a rejigged rhum baba and a titivated crème brûlée — largely abandoned.
We had spent £300 including £33 pounds service. It all felt so luxurious.