Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Le Vacherin, W4; Local Eats

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Le Vacherin, W4; Local Eats

Article excerpt


It's hard to know how to pigeonhole Le Vacherin: despite having an English chef, this is defiantly a French restaurant, and the menu is littered with nostalgic, rustic dishes - all very Elizabeth David. But Le Vacherin is not a posh and elegant destination restaurant - it's tucked away at the foot of Acton Lane and serves a genuinely local clientele.

The cooking is good here, wellbalanced dishes, intense flavours, good seasoning and a healthy dollop of real passion.

There are two halves to the dining room. As you come in there's a narrow section leading to the bar, and there is a larger room next door. The floors are tiled and the tables come with linen cloths topped with paper slipcovers - as if the proprietors are determined not to stray too far upmarket.

When you name your restaurant after a cheese you are honour bound to offer it on the menu, and here you could have a baked Vacherin with Bayonne ham, new potatoes and gherkins to start with, some gratin Dauphinoise made with Vacherin to accompany your main course, and then have another baked Vacherin to finish with.

Perhaps there's some lingering memory of Seventies fondue, but the baked cheeses are immensely popular and the kitchen uses between 40 and 50 a week.

When the pukka Vacherin season is over (October until the end of March, with the cheeses lingering on until the end of May) the plan is to switch to goat's cheese Vacherin for the summer months.

Setting aside the merits of this noble cheese, various other starters also appeal: there's a dozen old-style Burgundy snails with pungent garlic butter, a warm salad of scallops, black pudding and Alsace bacon, a goat's cheese tart with endives and a walnut salad.

'Oeuf en cocotte et rago"t d'Aiglefin' comes to table in two separate china pots, one containing an accurately coddled egg and the other smoked haddock in a cream sauce - this dish works well. …

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