In this edition, Marc Verstringhe takes us to a village style location in the heart of London’s Belgravia….
Marc founded Catering & Allied in 1975. He is the Honorary President of ECA Global, a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and the Royal Society of Arts and is the Harry Hansen Business Fellow at the Judge Business School, Cambridge University.
One of my favourite restaurants in town is Motcombs in Motcombe Street – a cobbled street in the heart of London that still feels like a beautiful village.
The restaurant atmosphere as you walk in to Motcombs, from the art hanging on the walls to the flowers on the table, gives a truly special ambience.
It portrays to me the Ernest Hemingway “Moveable Feast” style of Paris Brasserie where artists, writers, business people, local residents and tourists (if they are lucky enough to find it) come to enjoy the excellent cuisine, the atmosphere, the wines and a superb and unique approach to service. It gives that feeling of belonging.
Motcombs’s menu is very good and easy to read, with specials that locals and regulars know will be there and love. I usually order a minute steak which is beautifully cooked with fresh spinach and pomme frites that are too die for. But the native oysters are absolutely fantastic and my personal favourite. Other great dishes include: melon and parma ham – this may sound uninteresting but believe me it is a superb dish, with very tasty parma ham – spaghetti with lobster and tomato sauce, fishcakes with lobster sauce – these are all excellent dishes and executed brilliantly.
Likewise the range of wines is great and many are served by the glass. My usual choices are either the Gavi from Italy, which is really excellent, or the Chablis. The red burgundy, Santenay, is great. You will also find Sassicaia on the menu, an Italian wine from the Bolgheri region made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. The US wine critic Robert Parker tasted this wine blind and rated it 95 out of 100.
What makes Motcombs really stand out for me is the friendliness of the team which sits alongside the strictest discipline and flawless delivery. It is absolutely superb service. Philip Lawless (pictured right), the Patron, brings a background at John Gardner, the city caterer, followed by running Scott’s, a destination for celebrities the likes of Nathalie Wood, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, before opening his own restaurant in 1982.
All this to help enjoy a couple of hours of joie de vivre, and to fall in love again with the restaurant business.