The week before my 24th birthday, at the end of a shit, shit day, my lover whisked me away for a surprise night out to a place above the clouds of the big smoke…
The discreet lift in No.1 Poultry didn’t do my boyfriend any favours when he did the big reveal, and I had NOT spotted the small sign for Coq d’Argent, and instead thought he was taking me to Whetherspoons… my powers of observation are always needing to be improved, I’ll admit.
Coq d’Argent was still a mystery to me. But I was eager to find out more.
The lift sweeps you up the roof-top garden terrace (which would be magical in the Winter) that leads you into the warm, elegant French restaurant and lounge-bar over-looking the City. We’re greeted at the door by the very attentive staff, who really made sure that we had a fabulous night.
As we settled into our candle-lit table by the window with the best view of Central London, our server brought over a bottle of ice-cold bubbly which Andrew had ordered for me. Bottoms-up is always a fantastic way to start a night.
Over Champagne and warm fresh bread we chatted about our weeks and tried to use our year 9 French to decipher the name of our venue. We arrived at Money Chicken. Or as I preferred, Secret Agent Coq (ok, I’ll admit that I just thought of that now). I’ve since been reliably informed that it is actually The Silver Cockerel. Clearly.
ANYWAY – getting to the food.
Andrew ordered: Ox Cheek and Fois Gras with pickled vegetables
I had: Mixed game terrine with celeriac ‘”spaghetti'” in a honey and mustard dressing with red currant and port chutney.
Onto the mains…
Andrew: Roast rump of beef with watercress aioli. Sides: Crispy, chunky chips and rocket with Parmesan and a balsamic reduction.
Holly: Pan fried partridge breast, with partridge leg and fois gras white pudding, hand-cut potato chips (a.k.a homemade crisps), and bubble & squeak, with a juniper jus.
And for dessert…
Andrew: crème brûlée with lemon madeleines
Holly: Caramelized pear tart, served with praline ice cream and crème fraîche… and a special message!
Our starters at Coq d’Argent were so tasty and wholesome, and ordering pate was a perfect excuse to try some more of the mouth-watering selection from the bread basket.
Andrew’s beef main was cooked to perfection and the fresh green flavours really elevated the rump from its usual heavy Sunday roast accompaniments.
My partridge was a revelation – it was the first time I had tried this game bird (HA!) and the first time I had been served poultry medium-rare – the meat was tender and so, so flavourful, it had a smoky note which complimented the juniper jus tremendously. I’m not sure that the crisps were wholly necessary, as the bubble and squeak was carb enough for me. They would have made a better pre-dinner snack, although I’ll admit that the crunch was a nice surprise with the softness of the rare meat.
These dishes were divine, but it was my dessert that I keep replaying in my head (total food porn). Normally I’m not much of a pudding person – half to do with the fact that I’m over stuffed mid-main, and also because I find dessert menus a little tired (no, I don’t want poncy deconstructed Eton Mess thank you, nor do I want a Harvester-style chocolate challenge) – but my caramelised pear tart was by far the best after-dinner treat I have ever had. I will go as far as saying that it was the best thing I have ever had in my mouth. FACT. The gooey caramel with the buttery pastry was just to-die-for. The praline ice cream and crème fraîche provided a nutty and slightly sour contrast to the rich pears, which I only discovered half way through devouring my tart, the combination was just genius.
Drinks and dinner in the heart of London with my beau is truly the best way to spend an evening, let alone a birthday.