By Faye Armstrong and Christian Rose-Day.
I imagine most people dread the thought of socialising with their boss outside of the workplace. No longer able to hide behind spreadsheets, nodding head dogs and industrial size pencil sharpeners, the revelation that your boss is a ‘real’ person can spread fear into the depths of your now increasingly fast beating heart. You awkwardly make small talk about last month’s targets and how great the finger buffet was at last year’s Christmas party, you know, the one where your alter ego ‘Whitney-what-a-voice-Houston’ took over and bellowed tunelessly into the £15 Barbie karaoke set the spotty-faced intern donated.
Not I; I actually like my boss, Christian Rose-Day. Just don’t tell him that, OK? I regularly go for long, drawn out lunches with him where we touch on topics such as politics, poetry and how pop band Blue have been allowed to re-enter the entertainment sphere undetected.
Recently, we - the dream team - visited Smith Square Bar & Restaurant. As you will read from Christian’s review, lunch at Smith Square Bar & Restaurant was OK; a bit ‘meh’, even though the restaurant boasted many political friends who probably expensed the overpriced and below par lunch. Don’t worry boys, lunch is on me, the hardworking, LIDL-shopping, tax payer.
French restaurant chain, Chez Gerard, today invited the dream team to another lunch, specifically the Chez Gerard restaurant in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, just oop toot rurd from Oxford Street and its shopping freak hordes. Specifically, we were there to sample the new Prix Fixe menu, which gives away 3 courses for £19 or 2 courses for £15 (in retrospect, the latter is the better value-for-money option), and is available at all their Chez Gerard London branches, all day, every day.
So, a French Chez Gerard restaurant promoting a special offer lunch. Surely that’s got ‘meh’ written all over it, right? Well, stand aside! Mild revelation coming through. The main of Supreme de volaille farci aux champignons (breast of chicken filled with mushroom duxelles, mashed potato, fine beans, and beautiful tarragon & white wine sauce) was, for want of a better phrase, surprisingly good. And the rump steak, pommes frites, mixed leaves & maitre d’hotel butter - supposedly “the best steak-frites this side of Paris” (according to the nameless quote on the A-board outside) - had me clapping uncontrollably with excitement (although I hadn’t eaten for days).
The slither of Terrine de foies de volaille (chicken liver & pork terrine with toasted brioche & fig chutney) was just okey-dokey and enhanced crisply by the smooth sauvignon blanc house white (we chose to ignore the bottle of 1990 Chateau Leoville Barton on the wine list for £190. It simply didn’t make sense when we were dialing in a 3-courses-for-19-quid Prix Fixe menu).The booth we were sat in could be described as romantic, but as already disclosed, I was with my boss, so there was nothing romantic about it. It was nothing but functional; at that moment. I’m sure it could be termed romantic at any other time. Although looking around, it was not a time for romance. On a Tuesday lunchtime, it was business time, with business collars, and business talk abound. The business boys in white shirts (ties off) had taken up the prime real estate outside in the glorious British spring sunshine. Bastards!Never one to turn down dessert, I opted for the Mouse au chocolat; a chocolate mousse pot with langue de chat biscuits. It was dark and rich but the pot was little more than a thimble; a size suitable for children or those with gastric bands. Christian’s Tarte au citron, however, was extremely generous in size. After my outstretched fork was ruthlessly batted away by my tyrant of a boss, I decided that I may have to rethink my favourable feelings toward him. On reflection, he’s a lemon tart-hogging-beast with stupid hair. Just don’t tell him, OK?If you’d like to book a table at this Chez Gerard restaurant, follow this link