Terroirs (December 2012)

I am full of plaudits for Terroirs. A group of five of us had a table in the corner downstairs last night and from my vantage point in the very corner I was able to look out at the whole restaurant. Unsurprisingly, every table was taken, but – as trivial as this may sound – everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves. Despite how full the place was, the waiting staff seemed both relaxed and efficient and this compelling combination seemed to be having the desired effect on the clientele. Clearly the food and wine undoubtedly helped too. In a nutshell, Terroirs succeeds in creating an atmosphere that many others should seek to emulate: superb home-cooking/ comfort foods in a wonderful setting, how I would like (a much larger version of) my kitchen/house to be. In terms of the food, our table sampled four different starters, as diverse as oysters (simple yet effective) to raw steak (well-presented on a board with pickles), all of which met with success. For the main, the majority of the table went for the rabbit leg with flagelot beans, presented to us in a dish where we served ourselves at the table – a nice idea – and perfect for a wet December evening. The cheeses with which we concluded were also excellent, served at the right (room) temperature and beautifully ripe. The wine list is also an absolute joy, full of undiscovered gems, particularly from France. Although potentially bewildering to the uninitiated – there are no ‘brand names’ here – the result is that the discovery of new wines is that much more satisfying. We enjoyed a Muscadet from the Loire and then a red blend from the Gard (in the Languedoc, but quite similar to Rhone in terms of style). Many of the wines are available in 500ml carafes, increasing one's options. To round it all off, Terroirs is priced very fairly too, all the more reason to return again soon.