Places To Eat In London: Mamie’s, Covent Garden
As you can probably tell from my food diaries every time I visit my parents house in Brittany, I’m big on the local speciality: galettes, which are basically savoury pancakes made with buckwheat flour, and filled with all manner of savoury fillings. I usually consume these in Brittany with a few glasses of good French wine, and a crepe drenched in melted local salted butter and sugar. Mamie’s in Covent Garden promised me all of these on a disastrously hot evening just down the Strand from my office, without having to sit in a car for six hours in order to reach my parent’s French house. Needless to say, I was excited for the meal.
Things felt very traditional when we sat down with the upturned cider cups on the tables, just how they are in Brittany, and then we switched to the very modern: the first time I’d been left alone in a restaurant by the servers instead to order of of a tablet menu. I found the way of ordering really convenient. However, the only real downside to our meal at Mamie’s was that the service – while lovely and polite – was painfully slow. You’d think with the digital system they’d be able to go a bit faster!
Before our traditional galettes arrived, with went for a slightly more modern starter to go with our nice cold glasses of French white wine. Just a note on the wine; it is fantastic, good value (for London at least), and tastes exactly like the sort of wines selected in the region, not for the English market. This is the sort of wine my family and I bring back to enjoy at home, and you honestly can’t go wrong with it.
They’d made little crispy nibbly bits out of buckwheat galette batter, which while unlike anything I’d had before, were actually a lot like French aperitif nibbles, that were served with homemade hummus and guacamole. Different, but rather excellent, and a lovely start to the meal.
My usual galette order was not on the menu (creamed leeks and scallops), so I went for something reminiscent of the hot sausages wrapped in big, floppy galettes you get out of food trucks at the market: La Chateaubriand, a wrapped galette stuffed with Toulouse sausage (the long, thin, flavourful ones typical in France) and good wholegrain mustard, served with simple dressed leaves and vinaigrette. It was all authentic, all delicious, and the perfect introduction to the regional cuisine. However, and I can’t put my finger on it, it just did not have that edge that some of my favourite galettes in Brittany have. But honestly, 99% there.
Sherin had something a bit more familiar: traditionally folded, and filled with a cooked egg, chives, smoked salmon and cream. It was given a bit more of a modern/ London update with pink peppercorns and because the cream was lemon cream cheese, but she said it was bang on, and Sherin knows here galettes; her boyfriend is from a village 20 minutes from our house and has eaten ut locally almost as much as I have!
Now, our crepes for dessert were perfect, absolutely no different than either of us are used to with perfect, traditional toppings. My beloved butter and sugar number had generous amounts of butter and was utterly perfect, and Sherin’s homemade salted caramel was faultless. Save room for the crepes, because I can’t use the word perfect enough to describe them.
Okay, so the service is slow but the food is good, and if you’re not used to it like we are, something a bit different compared to everywhere else you could go out on an evening. I’d book a table when it gets a bit cooler (Mamie’s is tiny so you need to book), and share a bottle of red wine between the two of you as you eat your fill of galettes and crepes. Vive La France (in Covent Garden!)