Last Friday I was treated to an evening of pure bliss at Cafe Luc in London’s Marylebone High Street. To say that the night featured culinary delights would be a fantastic understatement. There were actually dishes that have changed the way in which I look at food entirely. For one, the Nutella creme brulee. My God, whoever created this trip to heaven in a dish should be given the Noble Peace Prize and encouraged to spread joy and happiness around the world with this magnificence, one spoonful at a time.
Upon arriving at Cafe Luc I was initially extremely impressed with the location and the entrance. It’s all very modern and chic. As you walk inside you are immediately struck by the beauty of a bar decorated in hand blown glass baubles from Murano. A quick glance around the restaurant reveals a romantic lighting that allows for the rich greens and browns to work their magic on your psyche. This is an experience meant to last for hours and the atmosphere is truly a dream version of home away from home. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention that there are mirrors everywhere, which are perfect for those awkward moments when you want to make sure dinner’s spinach hasn’t decided to make a home on your front tooth.
One look at the cocktail menu and you’ll know that “cool” for Cafe Luc doesn’t end with the decor. I tested three of the cocktails myself and tasted various others from friends ordering off the same menu. Let’s just say I have a new afternoon drinking hole for post work celebrations. Each drink was decadent, different and entirely too drinkable. The champagne cocktails are all recommended as there are some combinations here I would have never thought of and that work perfectly well. The “tea” cocktails are on another playing field all together and I’d only recommend these if you like a strong drink. One will leave you legless if you can’t hold your alcohol, so order with caution.
There were about fifteen of us for dinner and the crowd was a delightful mix of fine journalists from print to web. We were also joined by Luc van Oostende, the owner of Cafe Luc and a dead ringer for Hugh Grant. Luc made the rounds regularly to help us decide and to give us tips based on our culinary preferences, and of course to make sure we were pleased with our choices. In the end I ordered Shrimp Croquette as a starter, Steak Tartare as a main and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert, followed by a steaming hot cappuccino. As we waited for the first course to arrive, the talk turned to fashion as we sipped white wine and took in our surroundings. Warm bread and butter was served and our stomachs were momentarily subdued by the carbs provided. The first course was perfectly timed as a second piece of bread had made its way onto our plates. The shrimp croquettes, my first experience with such a dish, was definitely a great kick start to the meal. This dish arrived on the table and resembled what we can only describe as breaded sausages. One squeeze of the lemon wrapped in cheesecloth and we were ready to dig in.
Then the waiters brought my Steak Tartare to the table, with the meat, raw egg and spices beautifully decorating the plate. I was then asked how I’d like it prepared. I asked for the full experience with all the fixings. And there the raw meat was transformed into a masterpiece, right before my eyes.
The first bite was overwhelming perfect. This is, by far, the best steak tartare I have ever had anywhere in the world. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a pretty big statement to make. Well, all I can say folks is that tasting is believing. So I’d encourage you to go in and try a bite for yourself. After all, beauty, even with food, is in the eye of the beholder.
Speaking of beauty and Cafe Luc, I’m now happy to share a quick pic of the dessert I spoke about above -the Nutella Creme Brulee. After one bite I was ready to call off any idea of eating another dessert in this lifetime. And I must mention that I didn’t even order this dessert. I was actually stealing spoonfuls from my neighbour who was only too kind to allow me to indulge. I kid you not, I am incapable of describing the taste in this dish. Along with the steak tartare, you’ll have to have a shot yourself as trying to describe such a blissful experience is damn near impossible.
Fashion Foie Gras would like to give a big thank you to Cafe Luc and the whole team behind such an amazing experience. While the dinner was complimentary for review purposes, Cafe Luc has definitely signed on a customer that will return and happily pay for as many meals as we can squeeze into the schedule.
50 Marylebone High Street, London W1
Reservations: 020 7258 9878