Cigalon | London (UK)

Pleasant dinner with a lot of comforting flavours and tastes in Provençal surroundings.
Reasonably priced so good value for money.

Cigalon is based in a former auction house on Chancery Lane, London (UK), just off from The Strand and within walking distance of Covent Garden and The City. Nice high ceilings and the look and feel is unpindownably French. I really like the atmosphere with soothing pastels and a central island of booths that wrap themselves around each other, creating an intimate feel.

Cigalon is a Gascon Connection restaurant, which is a partnership between Michelin-starred Chef Pascal Aussignac and business partner Vincent Labeyrie.. The Gascon family of restaurants includes London based Club Gascon and Comptoir Gascon.

Head Chef of Cigalon is Julien Carlon. Originally from Marseille, Julien was trained in France, where he graduated in 1999. That same year he moved to the UK, where he began working in some of the finest restaurants in London, including the Four Seasons Hotel Park Lane, Le Gavroche and Club Gascon. He has been Head Chef at Cigalon since it’s opening in 2010.

Cigalon is open 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) for lunch and dinner. Next to an à la carte Lunch menu, they offer a set lunch menu (2-courses at £23 and 3-courses at £27) and a set dinner menu (2-courses at £34.5 and 3-courses at £38.5). The also offer a nice and broad selection of open wines.

We were there last week Friday evening and booked with a Truly Experience consisting of a 4-course menu (with dishes from the set lunch menu) with pairing wines.

Bread basket with Tapenade
Coco Beans Velouté & Watercress Oil

The velouté was well made but unfortunately lacked flavour. It was under seasoned, probably because the watercress didn’t came through enough. The beans really needed the peppery flavour of the watercress. The portion was a bit too small as well as a starter.

Ham Hock Terrine & Pickled Radicchio

The ham hock terrine was very well made. Good texture, not too fine and not too coarse and good taste and seasoning. The other elements on the plate had quite strong flavours, the mustard, capers and pickled radicchio, but all together a good combination with the ham hock. Good dish and good execution!

Braised Cuttlefish, Chorizo, Artichokes & Tarragon

Cuttlefish was cooked well. Comforting dish with a lot happening on the plate. The chorizo definitely won the battle, without really overpowering the dish. It did make it more of a Spanish tapas dish, instead of Provencal cuisine though. But a pleasant dish.

Seabass, Sprouting Broccoli, Walnut & Lemon Brown Butter

The cuisson of the seabass was good and it was well seasoned. Loved the lemon butter which zinged of lemon. It worked perfectly with the fish. The walnut added a nice crunch. A consoling fish dish.

Beef Onglet, Beetroot, Baby Gem & Smoked Anchovy Mayo

The beef oglet was beautifully pink (sorry for the quality of the photo). Earthy beetroot, with crunch from the baby gem. Nice dish, not very refined though, but good taste and flavours.

Cheese of the Day & Rhubarb Chutney

We asked to have the cheese dish as well in addition to our desserts. We received it at no additional charge, which was very kind, Cheddar was the cheese of the day. It was fine with the chutney, but it was just a big chunk of cheese. I would change this dish to having 3 different cheeses (smaller pieces) instead to create a cheese board. Would be a huge improvement.

Flourless Chocolate Cake & Strawberry Sorbet

Chocolate cake was gooey and tasted well. Nice touch that is was made without flour. The sorbet was okay. Nothing special, just an okay dessert.

Pineapple & Pastis Cheesecake

The presentation of this dessert was very poor. I expect to get a little glass pot like this when having a standing reception or something, not in a restaurant. The taste was nice, but it wasn’t a cheesecake. The almond biscuits were overpowering and taste as if Amaretto liqueur was added. Couldn’t taste the pineapple nor the Pastis. Again, nice taste, but didn’t hit the brief of the dish.

The serving staff was great. They create a comfortable, informal atmosphere, are attentive and knowledgeable. We had a wine pairing to go with our dishes and each wine was perfectly described by the Maitre D’, with plenty of knowledge and enthusiasm.

Some of the dishes and presentations need some attention and I don’t see the Provençal cuisine coming through to be honest, so that would acquire a bit more attention if that is Cigalon’s speciality. But altogether a pleasant dinner with a lot of comforting flavours and tastes in Provençal surroundings. Reasonably priced so good value for money.