French haute cuisine – the go-to choice for generations when it comes to seeking out the best dining – has been somewhat marginalised in recent years. It’s not that it’s changed at all, it’s that such a plethora of other exciting and intriguing global options have forced their way into our consciousness, and the French have been somewhat left behind. It turns out they’re still very much doing their thing as well as ever though, and what a joy it was to make a retour.
L’escargot is a HedgeBrunch favourite, but this was the first time we’d hosted a HedgeBrunch Private occasion at the celebrated Soho townhouse. Recently renovated, with an expansion into a full private members club, L’Escargot is now a serious destination for itinerant foodies and bon vivres alike.
Joined by a select group of HedgeBrunch members (a fertile mix of family offices, funds and advisors) we were set for a highly enjoyable yet productive lunch in The Library, L’escargot’s intimate private dining space. The ground floor restaurant maintains the classic French feel that the brand has upheld for decades, reaching back to 1927, but the private space offers a haven in the heart of the club where one can talk at length undisturbed – save the attentive yet un-intrusive staff.
Welcomed by host, Gus Morison, HedgeBrunch CEO, the agenda was set around exploring each guest’s current projects, goals and thoughts on the current climate. As our starters arrived (roast loin of veal with dandelion and radish salad) the discussion was kicked off by Hasan Abdat – of ADG Systematic Fund. Mr Abdat took some time to talk about the fund’s strategy, how it has grown impressively since inception and strong recent performance. An excellent positive note to begin with. Interest was garnered from a strong Jeffries contingent as well as the single and multi-family offices in attendance, who then went on to explore the merits of ADGs wider platform and background. Russel Hart, COO of Alcova Asset Management, followed swiftly on. With a similar recent strong performance profile, Alcova is well placed at the moment and as a close friend of HedgeBrunch, it is always good to hear Mr Hart’s thoughts on the issues of the day.
James Beveridge, of Xpono digital, joined with a succinct account on the power of video, which is of course a theme that many people are talking about currently. Turning to our main course which was a rich and delicious classic Boeuf Bourginon, Ben Sears, head of investor relations at crowd-funding platform Seedrs, took us on a brief exploration of the fintech world and how equity funding of start-ups is quickly revolutionising the way businesses grow. A fascinating subject on the personal investing front to say the least (disclaimer: HedgeBrunch does not offer investment advice).
A brief round of musical chairs ensued between mains and dessert (we like to get everyone connected at a private lunch!) as we moved on to what can only be described as the best Crème Brule London has to offer. Further discussions led by Ben Watford of MJHudosn and Chris Cattermole of SS&C followed before L’escargot proprietor Brian Clivas joined for coffee and petit fours. Mr Clivas, a London hospitality stalwart who has run the likes of Langans Brasserie, The Arts Club and Home House in the past, regaled us with colourful stories from a rich life in hosting London’s most upwardly mobile and intriguing characters. A deftly light and enjoyable touch from a consummate host at the end of convivial and useful afternoon for all.
Service was impeccable throughout and we’ll certainly be returning to L’Escargot. The private dining room alone is reason enough but make some time for post repas cocktails and you could well be in danger of becoming a regular here.
To find out more about l’escargot please click here.