Café Luc, 50 Marylebone High Street, London W1

The eponymous Luc is Luc van Oostende who (as his name subtly hints) comes from Belgium. Luc and his daughter Julie – a graduate of "the world's leading hotel management school" no less – have acquired a large Victorian building that was home to Eat and Two Veg, and installed a dead-chic brasserie in it.

Outside, the walls are olive, and the awnings pea green. Inside, the same colour scheme is ritzed up, with lots of natural light and mirrors, by the people who made the Café Anglais look cool. Arrayed along the bar are stacks of hand-blown gold glass bulbs from Murano. The walls feature a recurrent tangle of 11 lampshades, artfully arranged, every few feet. The tables are stern black wood, the chairs comfortable, squishy, brown banquettes (I often think that, unless your companion is an alarming boss, a pushy date or a future father-in-law, it's always jollier to eat lunch with someone beside you). And in Parisian-brasserie style, they provide enough mirrors for you to check your look all through the meal. If only there was a brass rail running along the banquettes, you could be in the Dome. It's all terribly stylish, and a teeny bit stern, as if its core demographic are Benelux software designers.

Luc et fille have adopted the gastronomic orthodoxy that a modern brasserie must be all things to all people. They advertise Café Luc as an all-day operation, opening at 7am. Their Full English B, as Bertie Wooster would say, is a reasonable £12, while breakfasters of more European sensibility can plump for warm quinoa with banana and sultanas. They'll offer you brunch-y hamburger stuff if you rise at noon, afternoon tea'n'cakes if you're parched from shopping in Marylebone High Street, and fancy cocktails if it's after 6pm. But a brasserie stands or falls by its three-course lunch. It is any good?

The menu is "classic" French-Mediterranean, and you tick off the predictable dishes with a yawn: foie gras, steak tartare, tuna and swordfish carpaccio, goat's cheese salad, sea bass, Dover sole, duck confit, braised lamb, risotto. The only bit of excitement is the £14.50 two-course menu that is innocently entitled "Daily Express Menu". My date and I wondered what a "Daily Mail Menu" might offer. Ballotine of ghastly asylum seekers? Tartine of celebrity cellulite? Souffle of collapsing house prices...?

The food, though, was terrific. Madeleine's crab tian was a little work of art, a roundel of crab and avocado sitting on a spirograph of pink radish slices, surmounted by a quail's egg. The crab tasted good, although I'd question the addition of a wodge of cream cheese. My Scottish scallops were, unusually, steamed in a wine marinière rather than seared in a pan, and given a wallop of basil pesto. How odd to find, amid such sophistication, an awful lot of roughly-diced carrots that added nothing but crunch. ("How come," Billy Connolly used to wonder, "every time you're sick, there's always diced carrots in it? I hate diced carrots.")

When the mains arrived, I felt like buying an easel, brushes and oils and painting them. The brick-red-with-orange-terracotta of Madeleine's red mullet served with a roux-like bouillabaisse reduction was a gorgeous combination that tasted as good as it looked. A courgette, mandolined into a bouquet of slices, was delicious, as were the saffron potatoes. Only the courgette flower was wrong, deep-fried until it was tough and chewy (it's a flipping flower – it should be light as thistledown).

My organic chicken supreme with champagne, wild mushrooms and pappardelle was an irresistible combination. The chicken's crusty edge met the pasta's creamy softness and fell instantly in love; then, when you sliced through the breast, a platoon of lardons and sweet shallots cascaded down to greet it. This was easily the loveliest chicken dish I've tasted in ages.

All this comes at a hefty wedge. The mullet was £19.50, the chicken £17.20, Dover sole is £30, and fillet of beef £27. Perhaps they have to charge so much to pay for the staff over-manning: along with our charming waitress, we were served by about 10 people in 90 minutes. And you'd think one of them would have found a way of chilling the Macon-Villages before making it one of the "wines by the glass". But criticism froze on our lips when we shared the pineapple pudding. A thin pineapple slice, dried and snipped, formed a Mohican haircut on a coconut sorbet, above a far roundel of roasted pineapple on a carpet of pistachio and crushed rose sweetie bits. Such drama! Such romance!

Café Luc has bags of style and its chef David Collard has a rare eye for beautiful display as well as flavour. If he reins in some wayward tendencies (diced carrots, gratuitous cheese) and if the sommelier remembers to chill the wine, this place will soon be word-of-mouth news all the way from here to Ghent (and Aix).

Café Luc, 50 Marylebone High Street, London W1 (020-7258 9878)

Food 4 stars
Ambience 3 stars
Service 4 stars

About £120 for two, with wine

Tipping policy: "Service charge is 12.5 per cent discretionary, of which 100 per cent goes to the staff; all tips go to the staff"

Side Orders: Modern Marylebone

Trishna

15-17 Blandford Street, W1 (020-7935 5624)

Take a masterclass in coastal south-west Indian cooking – mains include grilled lobster with chilli oil and lime cucumbers (£28).

The Natural Kitchen

77-78 Marylebone High St, W1 (020-7486 8065)

Try the organic summer salads at the café at this foodie emporium: the avocado, Parma ham, brie and cracked walnuts costs £9.25.

108 Marylebone Lane

108 Marylebone Lane, W1 (020-7969 3900)

Main courses at this bistro-style eatery include a saltimbocca of roast monkfish with baked aubergine, rocket pesto and fennel confit.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Life & Style
life
VIDEO
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit