Tucked away in one of the few quiet corners of Knightsbridge is a tiny bit of Paris, the red-fronted Les Gourmets des Ternes French restaurant, which has opened its Rendez-Vous Bar (RDV) on the first floor.
The restaurant has already established itself as one of the area’s hidden gems and now, found at the top of the old wooden stairs, the intimate RDV bar is decked out like a cozy French sitting room with arm chairs, oil paintings and low lighting.
A small roof terrace with a few tables and chairs can only be accessed by climbing out of the sash window, which a few determined smokers were doing on the evening I visited Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a little like naughty girls sneaking out of boarding school for a fag.
Behind the bar head bar tender Dylan is making the bar’s signature cocktail, the Rendez-Vous Spritz Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a heady but refreshing combination of champagne, Saint Germain elderflower liqueur, mint and cucumber, absinthe and lemon.
Other cocktails include the French quarter, combining Pierre Ferrand 1er cru cognac, Grand marnier, Byrrh, Peycahud’s bitter and Absinthe, and The Knightsbridge Punch Ã¢â‚¬â€œ pineapple and vanilla infused Plantation rum, crÃƒÂ¨me de banana, coconut blossom and lime. There is an extensive wine list and some good mocktails, too. Bar snacks include tasty French light bites such as escargot, sun dried tomato and avocado tartine, a charcuterie platter and assiette de fois gras.
The terrace looks out at the swanky Bulgari hotel next door, and the bar is already attracting some of the guests to rendezvous here, as well as office workers and shoppers laden with bags from Harrods and Harvey Nicks.
The original Les Gourmets des Ternes restaurant was opened in 1962 in the 8th District of Paris by Francis Marie. Currently it is owned by his son Jean-Francois Marie, and it is Jean-Francois’ son Maximilien who is expanding the brand and opening Les Gourmets des Ternes in London, in Knightsbridge Green and another on Formosa Street, Maida Vale.
Les Gourmets des Ternes is one of Paris’s most sought-after restaurants and is a favourite with many celebrities including Sharon Stone and Jack Nicholson