Truc Vert: Fun and value in Mayfair (July 2016)

As every child knows, dark blue-coloured Mayfair is the final – and therefore the most expensive – spot on the Monopoly board. It’s no surprise then that its restaurants generally clock in on the pricy side. Admittedly, you often pay for what you get, but given the choice on North Audley Street of Roka’s Mayfair outpost or, a few doors down, Truc Vert, then I definitely know which one I would go for. Visiting the latter is not about seeing the D-list celebrities that seek to frequent the former; rather, it is like stepping into your Aunt’s slightly ramshackle kitchen/ living room. Probably the best word to describe the décor of Truc Vert is rustic, but it does work. Diners here feel comforted, almost cosseted and certainly not rushed. Service, correspondingly, can also be somewhat haphazard, but the best strategy is just to roll with it. Truc Vert is open from breakfast onwards and our recent visit occurred on a weekday lunchtime. We had not reserved, but got a decent table at the window by virtue of arriving at noon. The place soon filled up too. The food on offer here is broadly southern French/ Mediterranean, not ground-breaking, but reliably solid and pretty well-executed. Starters are priced in the £7-9 bracket and mains in the £18-20 range, but there are also salads and quiches on offer at more competitive levels too. My baked smoked trout fillet starter was exceptionally tasty even if the restaurant was slightly stingy on the quantity of fish relative to salad. For my main, Truc Vert excelled in preparing a perfectly tender piece of liver accompanied by creamy mash and a bracing spinach foil. My comrade’s choices also pleased and we were delighted to enjoy our dishes with a £30 bottle of Beaujolais chosen from a decent and broad-minded list. We stayed for 2+ hours, no pressure to move on, no rush, another glass of wine and then a coffee. A relaxing and enjoyable experience, and an antidote to much which is over-priced and over-rated nearby.