The Belgian restaurant’s menu promised gut-filling croquettes, plump mussels and crispy waffles. Now who could possibly resist the sound of that?!
Sarah from Maison Cupcake, Solange from Pebble Soup and I couldn’t, so we met up for a girly lunch on a Saturday. Café Luc’s snazzy website was somewhat deceiving though. I ogled the lunch and dinner menu for weeks only to be handed the brunch menu. Slightly disgruntled by this unwelcome surprise we perused the menu and had a hard time finding something to order.
Whereas the breakfast part of the menu had plenty of fun items it appeared as if by the time the chef got to the lunch section he came down with a severe case of lazyitis. Waffles and pancakes were mixed up with the starters, No fish, only one choice of chicken dish and mysteriously three beef steak ones were available. No clear division between starters and main courses could be discerned and in fact, I ended up ordering two main courses. Really, the menu is a mess.
Upon arrival the drinks menu was presented only to be never seen again. My first thirst quencher was the worst mojito I’ve ever had with mint leaves that were so plentiful a plant was practically growing out of the glass leaving an extremely bitter taste.
Carrot juice is one of those things that can be incredibly good or terribly bad and unfortunately, in this case it fell into the latter category. Unsettling sour this drink should have never left the bar if the staff actually tasted it in the first place.
The Cured Meat Plate (Rosette De Lyon, Jambon Noir De Bigorre, Bressaola, £8.20) was very prettily presented with stemmed capers as an elegant finishing touch. The richly satisfying Game Terrine (£10.20) was let down by rock hard sourdough toast. My lobster (£15.00) was beautifully cooked but the boiled beetroot, minute amount of avocado, cherry tomatoes, chewy frozen broad beans and pomegranate seeds I felt made a very strange combination. The sheer amount of different leaves used in the salad made me wonder if the bottom of the fridge drawers were cleared out for the week onto my plate.
At last I have figured out how to order my steak (£28.00) cooked to my liking in this country; by asking for it “FRENCH rare”. The piece of meat arrived in perfect condition accompanied by quaint bacon-wrapped beans and juicy roasted tomato. The disastrous béarnaise sauce was almost pure melted butter with whole, not finely chopped, tarragon leaves. In contrast the pepper sauce was simply beautiful.
Almost identical to my lobster salad I thought that £12.00 for two lousy prawns in this salad was a total rip-off. At my local Chinese shop you can buy a whole kilogramme of prawns for £6.00, so a very steep profit is made on this plate of food. The food styling of the Steak Tartare (£17.50) was very nifty and for once staff showed some proactiveness by offering to mix it for us only to make us wait for a full fifteen minutes to do a thirty second job. The restaurant was only half full.
Unfortunately, the desserts didn’t end the meal on a high note. The trio of unremarkable ice cream (£5.70) had a gritty texture. Although my vanilla panna cotta on its own was lovely, it was overwhelmed by the acidity of the rhubarb compote. No hint of Nutella could be detected in the Brulee (£6.00) and the soggy “crust” didn’t help matters either. Disappointing.
P.S. A special thanks to Cafe Luc for inviting me as a guest for lunch.
4/10: Inconsistent quality.
5/10: Overpriced but I guess that fits in with the area.
3/10: Except for taking our orders service was close to non-existent. It was hard work getting anyone’s attention.
8/10: All good!
6/10: Loved the leather seating and stylish decor. It’s a child-friendly establishment so be prepared for it to get noisy.
4/10: Avoid having lunch at Cafe Luc on weekends. I saw a glimmer of hope in some of the dishes which indicates a promising dinner for a possible next visit.
50 Marylebone High Street