Villandry is a French Mediterranean restaurant on Great Portland Street. In the medium price bracket, it offers a seasonal menu of light dishes with an emphasis on fish and meat.
You can’t miss the large French awnings and vibrant window displays as you walk down the street lined with 18th and 19th century townhouses. The French theme is evident as you walk in the door with typical wooden loopback chairs and white table cloths, very Montmartre.
However, if I’m honest, the décor is too simplistic to make up for the large open space leaving it feeling bare and cheaper than it should, especially considering the restaurant was very empty when we dined. The adjoining café, nevertheless, has very nice décor with a much cosier feel, so if we were sat here, I think we would have had a much different experience.
The food was good overall. The lobster was well seasoned and cooked with garlic butter, and the pesto with the burrata and butternut squash had a great mix of flavours. The sole had a good flavour and was cooked well, but was rather bony, making it not the easiest to eat. However, I was incredibly disappointed with the temperature of the food, and this is a real bugbear of mine. It was neither hot nor cold and this brought the quality of the flavours down, which was a real shame, because the wrong temperature can ruin a dish.
Nevertheless, the presentation of the lobster, oh my… I have a habit of getting too excited when food looks great, it’s that first look of symmetry and colour that gets that dopamine going. The lobster looked fantastic with an amalgamation of colour and textures. I loved the attention to detail, with the lemon being wrapped in thin gauze and the salad, chips and extra garlic butter were all in their own dishes, which was a great call since it meant none of the flavours mixed. The sole, on the other hand wasn’t presented anywhere near as well, so next to the lobster it was easy to have food envy.
The service was very good. Lovely waiters, who weren’t obtrusive, subtle yet vigilant as to when they were needed. The waiters were also very knowledgeable about the dishes and the wines, which made deciding much easier. The food also came out in great time. I don’t know if this is just because the restaurant was quiet that the service was so good, but I do think that they would hold themselves to this standard of service regardless.
Overall, if you are looking to have a whole lobster that tastes good in London, I think you’ve got a great deal going here. At only £24 for the whole lobster as well as chips and salad, it’s a steal (Monday nights only). On the whole, Villandry as a restaurant, I wouldn’t recommend too highly, but I’ve heard their unlimited prosecco brunch in the cosier café is well worth a try!
What Did We Have?
- Roasted butternut squash and burrata with walnut pesto £8.50
- Whole lobster in garlic butter with chips and salad £24
- Glass of white wine £8.80
- Bottled water
- Total £41.30
- Mixed beetroot and goat’s curd salad with hazelnuts and shaved fennel £7.50
- Grilled lemon sole (fish) with brown shrimp, samphire, capers and new potatoes £23
- Glass of red wine £8.50
- Bottled water
- Total £39
Presentation of food 7/10
Atmosphere and décor 3/10
Value for money 8/10