Elegance in the Shadow of the ROH
Refined and elegant, Margot is a marvellous place to enjoy a spot of weekend brunch
Review by Rupert Watkins
Say Covent Garden and it’s highly likely your first thought is of the square itself, the queues outside the Apple store and the hordes of tourists. However, in recent years the area has seen ever more up market brands and restaurants flow into the wider area – especially a little further east where the tourist crush is perhaps not so intense.
Which brings us to the door of Margot. The two co-proprietors Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën met whilst working in Scotts on Mount Street and certainly one can see the influence in this elegant, minimalist and art deco inspired restaurant. Chatting with the urbane and engaging staff, despite only having been open since last October, Margot has seen excellent business especially in the run-up to last Christmas and this year has started well with brunch being added to the culinary quiver.
Entering you are confronted with glass cases behind the front of house desk showing off a selection of the establishment’s more unusual Old and New world wines. The room then opens out to reveal an elegant, very 1920s esque bar with open kitchen behind that and various banquettes and tables around the room. Reasonably small and slightly low ceilinged, the room retains a nicely intimate and refined atmosphere, the art deco feel certainly reinforced with the smart monochrome palette.
The restaurant’s brunch menu is small but nicely judged. With the Italian culinary theme, there are options such as poached egg on tomato and avocado bruschetta with pancetta or omelettes with mixed mushrooms and parmesan. Those whose sweeter tooth gets the better of them are well catered for with a cake of the day or Italian lemon pancakes with berries and mascarpone.
Opening our account, my guest and I opted to kick off with a brunch cocktail. My Bloody Mary was good. I have to admit I am not a frequent indulger and so cannot be seen as an expert in these matters, but mine was refreshing and balanced the zing of the Worcestershire sauce and tabasco well, a hint of black pepper giving the necessary bite. My guest’s Rossini – prosecco with fresh strawberries and crème de fraise was likewise refreshing and nicely different.
Brunch is that ultimate comfort food and Margot does not disappoint in this area. My guest’s fried eggs with burrata and finocchiona Toscana salami was warming, substantial and that little bit different. The eggs well-judged and the salami a toothsome change from bacon. My poached eggs on tomato and avocado bruchetta with crispy pancetta was likewise warming and filling on a blustery and sleeting January day. The avocado was ripe and the pancetta crunchy and delicious. Allied to good coffee this was certainly a needed pit stop in supremely comfortable surroundings.
The restaurant was not full when we sat down to eat though as we were leaving the mid-afternoon surge did come in. With this, the service though careful and precise was always friendly and never over the top. When dashing downstairs, the lower level of Margot could be investigated. With its own very smart bar and similar art deco feel to upstairs, though with British racing green banquettes and chairs, this is a rather lovely little spot should you need a reception or private dining area and chatting with the staff, this has clearly been picked up upon and they are seeing increasing interest.
Be it for a needed recovery brunch or an elegant cocktail and charcuterie platter should you be promenading in Covent Garden in the evening, this refined eatery certainly offers much for the discerning guest.
Enquiries: Margot, 45 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5AA / 0203 4094777 / www.margotrestaurant.com/