A recent reunion of an unofficial lunch club saw me dropping in on old friends at a new venue. Michelin-starred chef, Alexis Gauthier and sommelier supreme, Roberto Della Pietra (ably assisted by Damian Sanchez) have opened Gauthier Soho in the attractive town house formerly frequented by Richard Corrigan. The layout over four floors and steep stairs is a challenge that must keep staff fit and a few kilos lighter.

We had unintentionally booked in the middle of London Restaurant Week and were taken aback by the jaw-dropping deal of £25 for four courses that they were running for this festival. I can’t cook at home on this budget, so we immediately re-channelled the funds into a bottle of Gosset Champagne as a succession of meticulously-prepared plates appeared - foie gras with apples, sultanas and a Calvados reduction; scallops and langoustine with girolles, welsh lamb with Autumn vegetables and pommes dauphines and a sensational truffle risotto. All this was washed down with rare white Trévallon and La Landonne 2006 which showed surprising integration and finesse. The restaurant even managed to squeeze several amuse bouche and a bizarre hand wipe that expanded with hot water out of their meagre budget.

I’ll be back soon for sure and note that the £33, three course lunch menu includes a half-bottle of wine. Exceptional!