Har Gau


Friday, 24 October 2008

St. Germain, Farringdon

How'd you like your steak?
Raw. With a bit of gherkin, please.

Steak tartare

My friends had some discounts (half price = very good deal) for French restaurant St. Germain, and so, on a windy and cold Friday night, I set off from my office towards Farringdon. Farringdon is located North-East of London central, and is about 2 hours from town (kidding kidding, it's about 1.5).

East London, to alot of people here, is like the unchartered territories of the Hikurangi Trench in New Zealand. Where? I hear you say. Exactly.

Once you're at the station, you turn left at the exit, and the first thing you see is a group of about 100 London workers, happying the hour away. I stood there for about 10 minutes, waiting for my friends to arrive while enjoying the cold crisp air that was slowly freezing my ears off.

After 10 minutes, I knew what it felt like to be a post-box. People keep walking into you.

Anyway, moving swiftly on (like those people who kept walking into me), the restaurant is on the left of the bar (as you're looking at it). This is the extent of my directional skills. If, by chance, those 100 people don't happen to be at the bar as you exit the station, you might have to get a map.

St. Germain is a wine bar as well as a restaurant. What this means is that upon entering the restaurant, you first see alot of wine bottles, and alot of people having wine. This fact alone is enough to convince me that this is a wine bar.

The next thing you see is the restaurant. There are menus and candles, and the place is dimly lit. This fact alone is enough to convince me that this is a restaurant. I am further convinced when the waitresses come by to ask for my order.

There have been alot of comments in the London papers these days about the lack of service in London. Those people have obviously not been in this restaurant as the service is faultless. The waitresses are cheery, always smiling at you, and even when faced with 7 diners (the discount only allows 6 diners), they allowed us to use the discount vouchers, and that is good service in my books.

So, what's for starters?

I had raw moo-moo's with a bit of Melba toast. It was my first time eating steak tartare, and here's where my vast experience in food reviews come in handy.

It tastes like a Big Mac (raw version). Now this is in no way an insult to the chef, nor it is an unfavourable review of the food here. It's just the closest description I could come up with. The steak was very fresh, and very tasty, and I particularly liked the bits of gherkin chopped into the steak. The portion size was that of a main course, and I felt quite full by the time I was done with that.

Fried goats cheese

The other dish ordered was fried goats cheese. I'm not sure if I like that as much as I liked the steak tartare because it was just mushy cheese, fried.

Grilled plaice with prawns

This was my main meal, and the portion size was pleasing. A whole plaice, with some sauteed prawns on the top of it, accompanied by some frites. Where else better to try French Fries than in a French restaurant? Conclusion: Not much difference from other fries at all.

Poulet ... something?

Chicken stew, almost. Tasty, but on the dry side.


Another friend ordered the oyster. When the waitress was setting the table, she placed what looked like a champagne holder thing, but with only the frames, if you can imagine that, on the table. For a while, we didn't know what this was. It was 1 foot high, as far as we could tell, had nothing in it.

Then the oysters came, and the plate was put on top of this holder thing. What was the purpose of that? Not a clue.

Creme brulee

Many of you would associate this dessert with French cuisine. That's where I stop and say,

'Vouz vouz trompez'

This should mean 'You are wrong', however, the online English-French translator came up with 'You are mistaken' instead. No choice here.

There is an English version of this dish called 'Cambridge Burnt Cream'. This was the dessert served in Trinity College, Cambridge and some are in the opinion that the French version of the dessert came after the English one.

Obviously, I don't know which one came first, so I don't have any opinions to add to this.

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