Almost every single Thai who doesn’t mind eating beef and happens to visit London must have heard of this place, Le Relais de Venise.
The concept of the restaurant is super simple yet intriguing. Only one prix fixe steak-frite set menu is served. And you can only choose the wine and the dessert. That may sound rather weird to the Thais who are familiar with eateries where you can pick up anything and tell them how you would like it to be cooked.
However, this restaurant has become a huge success, resulting in countless siblings (legitimate or not!) around the world. A crowd of people, locals and tourists, queuing in front of the door has become a common sight for those passing by. I decided to avoid ending up with such a situation by arriving right there before it opens, becoming the first client! I went to Canary Wharf branch.
As a French bistro, you can easily guess that the first thing to be served is bread. Then it is quickly followed by the salad with walnut and vinaigrette.
I must confess that although I am mainly carnivorous and not a big fan of vinaigrette dressing, this is actually really good. I did eat all of the greens!
And… here comes the thing we all come for. The Entrecôte steak, which is basically a cut from the sirloin cooked to your liking. I chose medium rare and it came perfectly pink and tender. The real wow factor is the sauce, of which recipe is highly sought after. There are thousands of variations of recipes claiming to be genuine. However, according to the news report, Hélène Godillot, the restaurant owner, stated that none of which came close to the actual stuff. I myself tried to figure out what it is made of, but, of course failed to identify the ingredients except for butter, mustard, and a mixture of herbs.
Fortunately, we are given the right to choose the dessert. I chose Le Gâteau du Relais, which is basically two slices of chocolate cake with one of them being fudgier than the other. But both of them were equally superb. Actually most people recommend the profiteroles, but my stomach was craving for chocolate on that day. And it was not a wrong decision.
A couple of months later, my dormant longing for the divine sauce brought me to Le Relais again, but this time in Marylebone. I arrived at almost 10 pm and couldn’t believe my eyes. There was still a long queue. Two people in front of me were Italian friends working in London. We had a conversation while waiting. After about half an hour, they got a table and invited me to join them so that I didn’t have to wait longer. It was a lovely evening.
All in all, I can only say that this place is worth the hype. Full stop!