Trying to go for dinner anywhere in the vicinity of Soho on a Friday night can make you start to feel a bit American Psycho. Name dropping restaurants like a crazed Wall Street fat cat, wondering where Patrick Bateman would eat and coming to the sad conclusion that if he were actually here, he would spit on your ragged clothing and leave you on the sidewalk clutching the roll of Oreos you happened to have in your bag. So no, we didn’t even bother trying to have dinner in Soho. Instead we went wandering up to unassuming Marylebone and got into a beaming queue where people were actually smiling. We were seated within 15 minutes. I had to pinch myself, the memory of being turned away from a Carluccio’s one Friday night still fresh in my memory.
And we had a GREAT meal. Le Relais de Venise is a Parisian restaurant (with 3 London locations and one in New York) with a unique French dining experience – there is just one dish. Green salad with walnuts dressed with mustard vinaigrette followed by steak frites, served with a secret sauce. There are no vegetarian options (SOZ) and no you can’t have the potato spiralized and then made into a wig instead. Just eat the fries. But don’t ask for ketchup (oops). And the best part? Just when I was wistfully eating my last “frite” the waitress came back with the rest of my steak (WTF) and another helping of fries served from a large silver platter – just like that scene from 101 Dalmations! I was genuinely taken aback. The French really know how to enjoy themselves. Zut Alors!
Le Relais de Venise, Marylebone
120 Marylebone Lane