Any lingering doubts that I'd been self-indulgent to accept a last-minute lunch invitation to Café Anglais, London Restaurant of the Year 2008, were dispelled when I bumped into two Yapp customers on the same 94 bus from Shepherd's Bush who were on their way to Le Gavroche. My karma was further improved at the restaurant when we were seated at a table next to Jeremy Paxman and Bill Bryson.
Leaving aside the captivating Art Deco interior and the warm feelings that come with knowing you are dining on the site of a former McDonald', the real draw at Café Anglais is the extensive Hors d'Oeuvre menu. Do go for the signature dish, Parmesan Custard, best to have one each! Also good are the Oyster Fritters, Coppa di Parma and Rabbit Rillettes.
We skipped starters and I did further damage to the bunny population with a flavoursome rabbit stew with impeccably creamed potatoes. We had shared a versatile Corsican white (Domaine Saparale 2007) to accompany the range of starters and this was followed by red Pic St Loup Arbouse 2006 with the main (my fellow diner went for middle of pork with rosemary and garlic, accompanied by a gratin dauphinois). A selection of cheeses - Saint Marcellin, Brie de Meaux and Montgomery Cheddar was enhanced with a comically (and unintentionally) small pichet of red Lirac 2005, so we ordered a second one.
Café Anglais, London W2 www.lecafeanglais.co.uk