So we’re still in a daze after eating brunch at Coq d’Argent. It might seem like an exaggeration to think that a three-course meal could have so many moments worth freeze-framing. But the brunch at Coq d’Argent did — and is so worthy of your brunching intentions.
We’re not quite sure what we want to highlight first —perhaps it was the private lift that zipped us up to the verdant rooftop garden with city views, just begging for summer to commence so alfresco dining doesn’t require three rugs and a heater. Or was it the refined indoor restaurant with its circular bar, brasserie, polished silver and genuinely polite staff that made us feel like they’d rolled out the red carpet especially for our 12pm booking? It is named after the French term for Silver Restaurant after all…
Yes — Coq d’Argent does sit above Bank station on the top floor of an office building, and rubs shoulders with the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and The Mansion House; so on any given weekday, it is replete with city high-fliers and businessmen schmoozing. Albeit, come on the weekend and the power-lunches are turned into special occasions with fine wine, family affairs and friends treating themselves to an exquisite French meal. Moreover, aren’t we sick of avo on toast for brunch yet?
So let’s start from the beginning. The 61-page list with 100s of wines is heavy on expertise, whilst remaining accessible — well perhaps not the 1945 bottle of Château Cheval Blanc at £4,500. But for the most part, a glass of the 2014 Côtes du Rhône is the perfect way to settle into the meal.
But wait — a good cocktail is a great way to really amp up a brunch. After flicking through the another lengthy drinks menu (they’re not short of a worldly, classic, top-notch spirits here), we settle on two Coq Creation cocktails — The Cinnamon Bagel made from Botran Solera 1893, Kahlua café liquor, maple syrup, Graham’s 10 yr old Tawny port & orange bitters is warming inside and out with its gentle spice flavours; and the Lavender Mule with Ketel One vodka, freshly squeezed lime juice, lavender syrup, ginger ale and lavender bitters, is so fresh and clean and wakes us up in the best way.
Now we’re buzzed and ready for our starters. A Terrine de canard (duck terrine, foie gras, apricot, pistachio, celeriac and apple remoulade) might not appeal to everyone, yet this classic French dish will convince even the most squeamish of squirmers who turn their nose up at the idea of foie gras. One bite in and already we think this meal could be the best ever.
Then we try the Caille rôtie aux girolles however — roasted quail, wild mushrooms, Armagnac soaked prunes and crispy Bayonne ham. A chorus of flavours with each spoonful — we can see why the waitress smiled enthusiastically when we ordered it.
Up next are the mains, and in typical French style, we order the Cassoulet of Confit duck leg, Toulouse sausage, ventrèche and cocoa beans with a side of Gratin Dauphinoise. There’s no showy undercurrent to what you’re being served here: every mouthful turns out to be an internal announcement as to just how awesome French food can be.
Likewise with the Cabillaud. Nothing on this plate feels like its vying for first place —the cherry smoked cod melts in the mouth, and the leeks, seaweed, cauliflower, shimeji mushrooms and mussels are certainly not afterthoughts.
By this stage, there are punctuation full-stops happening because we’re so gloriously satisfied yet determined to hold out for that last course — it’s all been so headline-grabbing great. We settle for a selection de fromage — it might seem original, yes, but it’s a fantastic selection that just continues with our “this is amazing food” induced jaw-dropping silences. The last dessert is the Rhubarbe and this is where you wish that all desserts could consistently be this incredible. The poached rhubarb, vanilla fromage blanc, blood orange sorbet and meringue are all card-snapping matches to each other and the flavours are shockingly amazing. You’ll want to take the pâtissier home with you.
Now that we’ve used so many words on this review, we should probably just let you go and call them now for a booking, right? Avocado on toast was so 2015, and the eggs benedict can be made at home. Weekend brunch at Coq d’Argent is a must.
Coq d’Argent, 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ
Weekend brunch runs from 12noon – 4pm; 2 courses £26/3 courses £29