“ 39 King Street / Covent Garden / London / WC2E 8JS „
Every 6 months or so myself and four close friends from school days drag ourselves together from our various corners of London to have an evening of food, catching up and setting the world to rights. This can only occur at these intervals as it takes us at least two months to find an evening when everyone is free, and then usually at least another month to agree on where to eat. This month we reached a consensus on Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden, so this is a review of a Thursday evening meal with friends there.
Palm Court Brasserie is located on King Street, under a minutes walk from the main Covent Garden square. It is very easy to find and around a 2 minute walk from Covent Garden tube.
The Restaurant Décor
Externally, Palm Court Brasserie has an exuberance of greenery for a place in central London. It also has a canape pulled out across its front, shading its window. These two features made me a little wary, as they made it look a bit cheap and tacky. However, once inside these fears were allayed. It was essentially decorated like a typical French café-restaurant, with art deco type prints and wooden floors and chairs. It was neither posh nor tacky, instead a comfortable middle-of-the-road interior.
The toilets were clean and non-descript, located down some stairs.
The Food and Drink
Just as the décor was typically French cafe, so was the food. It was hearty, filling and unpretentious. We chose to eat from their special offer menu, which had a good range of choices and none of us were disappointed with our meals. They weren't meals to write home about, but they were full of taste. My only complaint would be regarding the soup - one of my friends picked soup as a starter and was asked if she wanted bread with this - she replied yes, not realizing that although her 3 courses and a glass of wine were just £15, the 3 slices of bread to go with her soup would set her back another £2.50!
The drinks menu was comprehensive and comparably priced for the area.
Just as I have noted the décor and food was typically French, so unfortunately was the service, despite the waitress not actually being French. She gave off the vibe that everything was too much effort for her, and when we produced more than one card to pay the bill with she audibly sighed and rolled her eyes! Having said that, the orders were taken quickly and the food arrived at the table all together and fairly efficiently, so ignoring the indivual attitude the service wasn't bad.
For a restaurant in the very heart of central London the food was very reasonably priced and the special offer deal of 3 courses plus a glass of wine for £15 (advertised on a large board outside) made it exceptional value.
For a reasonably priced place to eat in central London with friends I think Palm Court Brasserie is a good choice. However, I don't think I'd recommend it for special meals or a romantic date as it just didn't have an intimate type of atmosphere.
I've had the pleasure of visiting this restaurant twice in the last six months and am happy to recommend it to anybody for a particularly tasty and filling evening meal in London, without having to stretch your wallet towards the upper echelons of the 'fine dining' bracket.
Like the previous review for this restaurant (which I greatly enjoyed reading), I will include the address. No, this isn't to fill words, but because the restaurant can be tricky to find for those not familiar with the densely-packed area that is Covent Garden.
Palm Court Brasserie London.
39 King Street
I recommend printing off directions to the restaurant in advance (ideally using a free service such as Google Maps, which was fit for purpose when I was getting there).
Please book a table well in advance - the ambience, quality of food and central location mean that it often gets very busy, even at times that you might not typically expect. While staff will do their best to accommodate 'stragglers', I have seen people turned away before. They can be reached by telephone (address on their website, www.palmcourtbrasserie.co.uk) and you can
also reserve by e-mail. Maybe I'm easily impressed, but their e-mail booking service is brilliant, with replies inside of an hour in some cases. Some restaurants are loath to use e-mail for this purpose and the Palm Court Brasserie is a nice exception.
From the outside, the restaurant doesn't look particularly impressive. It has a sort of homely appeal in brass and wood that looks welcoming, but not particularly memorable. Moving into the restaurant, the ambience is relaxed (if busy) and dark wood, prints and soft lighting are the order of the day. There is a reasonable large bar area and well-maintained toilet facilities
On both occasions I have been in, service has been quick and staff give you adequate time to peruse the menu in private. Their menus (A La Carte and weekend) are available online, as is the wine list. Being something of a gourmand (or person who loves to eat, if you'd rather), I have usually made my
mind up well in advance of the meal! Door and bar staff are welcoming and polite and will happily point you in the direction of the bathroom/make you up your favourite drink.
The food is an instantly recognisable blend of comforting bistro staples - steaks, mussels, confit duck and the like and a few more impressive dishes (a gigantic chateaubriand to share and pheasant spring to mind). Starters are in a similar vein and oysters, fish soups and cured meat are present in abundance. I haven't really availed myself of their dessert choices, but I did
have an enjoyable creme brule there. Food is rich and filling, with
well-flavoured sauces and everything we've had has been cooked correctly.
Some lighter and vegetarian options are available, but this isn't somewhere that I'd recommend for those on a diet, or vegetarians/vegans. I'm not saying that the Brasserie doesn't cater to them at all, just that they may not feel comfortable surrounded by such prevalent use of fish, fowl and meat.
There is a pre-theatre menu, a slightly more minimal 'weekend' menu and you can be sure of a few interesting specials/plat du jour.
When dining from the A La Carte menu, you should be expecting to pay:
Mains £12-16 (more for steaks etc.)
On our two trips there (both with groups of four diners) we have spent ~£160 and ~£110, making use of the set menu on the second trip. Both times we had two courses, bread, wine and dessert wines/coffee, so the price seems ok for the market.
Most of the starters and the main courses come complete with some vegetables (typically a garnish, or broad beans, mashed potatoes and that sort of thing). Sides are only normally required by the hungrier diner, but they can be very good to share - I've enjoyed the green beans and the buttered spinach (which is great with steak).
For those of you with any room left, they do a good coffee and have a small, but perfectly-formed selection of dessert wines. I'd forgive even a mediocre restaurant if they let me finish the meal with a good sauternes - Palm Court Brasserie does you the favour of finishing a meal in a great restaurant with an excellent one.
A note on ordering/waiters:
We have really enjoyed our two trips to this restaurant, but the one thing that did take the shine off of things was the waiting staff. I realise that part of their job is to sell sides, extras and generally push up the average spend, but the service we've had has been a bit over the top in its pursuit of a higher bill!
Examples would include waiters refusing to provide tap water (some of us request this out of ecological concerns as opposed to being thrifty) and some very poor wine advice - take a look at the wine list beforehand if you're not the sort of person who knows what they enjoy. On the first occasion one of my in-laws asked for a white wine suggestion to accompany a fairly standard selection of lighter dishes and the waiter insisted that a very dry Sancerre (£35) was a good choice, completely ignoring the range of more reasonably priced wines that would have been far more appropriate for general consumption. I don't mind dear wine if it will compliment your choices, but waiters should try and cater to the needs of their customers as opposed to just naming what's costly.
Despite my misgivings, ordering is a small part of a meal and you shouldn't let these comments put you off dining at what is a warm, intimate and high-quality restaurant. We will definitely be returning in the new year.
I am often in London to go to a show so what I usually do is make sure that I choose somewhere to eat that is close by but also does a pre-theatre meal so I can ensure that I am all full before I go and watch my show. We were recommended the Palm Court Brasserie by my Aunty and Uncle as they go there every time they are in London. We thought we may as well try so we found ourselves back in July and I am planning another trip for February. Here is why I think that it is a nice, efficient, modern and delicious place to go to.
Ok so first the address;
Palm Court Brasserie London.
39 King Street
Ok so in terms of location this restaurant has it all really. Right in the heart of London in Covent Garden the setting is gorgeous. You are right in the centre of the shops, bars, entertainment and theatres so you cannot fail but to find it but also to enjoy it there. There is so much to see around this area and I think this restaurant has a prime position in theatre land.
We found it easy to find but I would recommend taking the number down just in case you get lost at all. From the outside it looks very cosy with a nice sign which looks kind of old fashioned with Palm Court Brasserie written clearly so you can see it. There is a small window and door and you can see the nice dim lights inside and it does look instantly inviting.
Ok so you walk in and immediately to your left you have the bar which is extremely well stocked and when we there the barman were all up for entertaining everybody which was great fun. There is always somebody there to serve you and there are lots of bar stools so you can always get a seat.
On the right is the start of the restaurant tables which are very simple metal tables and chairs and they look very elegant and again cosy. In fact everything about this place is cosy and friendly so you feel at ease there. The toilets are a short walk to your right and then as you walk down you will see lots more tables and chairs and the place always seemed to be busy while we were there.
The staff were brilliant with everybody being friendly and helping everybody else out. They had very good sense of humour which was nice and made our meal a very pleasant one indeed.
The bar is well stocked so drinks wise you don't really have any problems. The prices are London prices so do expect to pay about £5 for a glass of wine and about £3 for a glass of a soft drink. Expensive I know but what you expect from the centre of London in such a nice area and restaurant.
The menus for food are fantastic. They have a good range of starters such as soup and fishcakes. Then main meals you can choose from meat, grill or pasta salad dishes and they have a good selection of each. Then for pudding you could have ice creams or crumble and many more. The prices are about £4 for starters, £9 - 12 for mains and £4 for desserts.
What we had though was a pre-theatre menu so they basically give you a few choices and they make sure you are out before the shows start which is generally half 7 in the evening. A 3 course meal like this cost £13 which is not bad at all. We had choices with a vegetarian meal included in the menu. I had spinach and feta cheese salad followed by salmon followed by apple crumble which was delicious. Everybody else had steak which looked nice also.
The food does fill you up and it is well prepared so I was impressed. I think everybody takes care over everything at this place which was of course great to see and I enjoyed my time there immensely. The prices were fine and they have a good choice of food and then couple this with the fact that the restaurant is in a brilliant location and is very well stocked and appearance is brilliant I think you cant go wrong here.
I would return as I think everything was just lovely and I would recommend to anybody travelling to this area. I don't think it would be wise to drive to go to the restaurant as it is so much easier to get the tube to Covent Garden which doesn't take long from wherever you are in London.
Recommended and I think you will all be glad if you go and like it as much as I did.
Thanks for reading.
The Palm Court Brasserie brings a little touch of Paris to the heart of London. This Covent Garden restaurant has all the design details of an authentic bustling Parisian bistro. There are Art Deco posters on the wall, a huge wrought iron chandelier and rattan chairs. Waiters in classic white shirts, black waist coats and aprons served authentic French bistro food to a crowd of shoppers, theatre goers and local office workers enjoying a what feels like a night out in Paris without the need to fork out for a Eurostar ticket.