A lot has been written about Cafe Luc. Some of it has been positive; some of it not so positive. On first impressions, at least, ELLEuk fell into the first camp. With a colour palette of gold and grey with black tables and black leather seats, its stylish, in a muscular sort of way a sleek, powerful and consciously wealthy take on a brasserie setup. The clientele was a local Marylebone set, a little older and very well-heeled, but the ambience after work on a Friday night hummed away nevertheless.
We went for starters of shrimp croquettes and a crab tian. While the former was excellent delicate mouthfuls of tiny shrimp in a crispy batter full of subtle, complex flavours the latter was a triumph. Garnished with radishes, a quails egg and caviar, it wasnt just delicious, but a thing of real beauty. These were followed by braised Iceland cod, served with celeriac purée, artichokes and leeks simple but delicious and moules with sprigs of rosemary, fat bulbs of garlic and fennel, which gave it a lovely sweet undertone. Finally, a chocolate pot came drenched in decadent hot chocolate sauce and pistachio biscuits on the side. The roast pineapple alone was a bit of a let-down prettified pineapple with a blob of ice-cream, it had a vaguely 70s feel to it.
What criticism there has been of Cafe Luc seems to have mostly focused on a couple of things: the meat dishes and the price. Its not cheap for a brasserie, with most main courses nudging £20, while a crisp, dry glass of Sancerre (or similar from the excellent wine list) will set you back almost a tenner a glass. But our meal was excellent and accompanied by flawless service, throughout (a plate full of mussel shells was discretely whisked away without even breaking the conversation). We cant speak for the meat, but if you stick to the seafood, wed say you cant really go wrong.
The ELLEuk Score
Good for: Quick bite after work; first date; romantic
Style of food: Belgian bistro
Prices and Other Details at Cafe Luc
Address: 50 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5HN
Opening times: Mon-Fri 7am-11.30pm; Sat, Sun 8am-11.30pm
Average price per person for two-course meal without wine: £30
Set menu: £15.90 for a three-course set lunch menu
Price of bottle of house wine: £19
Price of glass of house wine: £3.90 for a 125ml
Price of glass of house champagne: £10.10
Price of bottle of house champagne: £56.50
Private dining? The whole restaurant is available for exclusive hire.
Garden/al fresco dining? No
Bar? For diners only. You can have a drink while you wait for a table.
Best table? Tucked away at the back away from the bar and incoming diners.
Who goes? Smart Marylebone locals and shoppers looking to escape Oxford Street.
Nearest tube: Baker Street