Les 110 de Taillevent
16 Cavendish Square, W1G 9DD
WLC Rank : 10
Glass from : £ 7 (125 ml)
The original Taillevent in Paris was founded after World War II in tribute to fourteenth-century court cook, Guillaume Tirel (nicknamed “Taillevent”, or “idle swaggerer”). The London incarnation opened betwixt Bond Street and Oxford Circus in 2015 and features 110 of some 1,500 bins by the glass.
Christopher Lecoufle, Head Sommelier and now Floor Manager, is the only front of house remaining from opening day. He previously worked at Restaurant Lasserre, Paris, where Antoine Petrus (now Directeur Général, Taillevent Paris) taught him “l’art de la table”, with his first role in England being a bursary for the late great Gerard Basset OBE (Hotel Terravina).
“We understood guests wanted more, so, little-by-little, brought older vintages over from France.”
Taillevent’s “DNA” is Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône and the Loire, says Lecoufle, and much is imported direct, such as Petit & Bajan Grand Cru ChampagneThe New World is celebrated, too, including two pages of red Australia starring Pinot Noir from William Downie, Lethbridge, Mac Forbes, and Ten Minutes by TractorLecoufle’s Rolodex contains more than 100 suppliers, from which he “cherry picks.”
One might be forgiven for assuming the cellar would extend into the vault of the premises, an elegant Grade II former banking hall, built for Coutts. “Actually, the kitchen is down there, and the cellar is where documents were kept” corrects Lecoufle.
Each time Lecoufle visits a producer, he returns with “a pocketful of ideas.” Hence the “timecapsules” that are Madeira’s wines, which, “opened my mind,” he says. “And we now have Madeira by the glass!”
One interesting development is the customer service Lecoufle performs outside of service. ‘I’m starting to follow guests on Instagram if I have touched the table, so-to-speak, trying to create a connection, continuing a very interesting discussion.’
Dishes, devised by head chef Head Chef Ross Bryans (formerly of Corrigan’s and Pollen Street Social) may include suckling pig with “sauce charcuterie” matched with Austrian Riesling, Smaragd, Singerriedel (Franz Hirtzberger), and Lecoufle’s personal favourite, Arbois and Comté.
Other than vinous wares, the Normandy born Lecoufle also rates Calvados, unfussed with London gins and cider by the magnum.
Lecoufle and Bryans savour run a series of wine dinners entitled “Secrets de Terroirs”, where blood orange posset with shortbread and marshmallow ice cream could be matched with Charles Heidsieck 1983.
By Douglas Blyde.