In London, moving from west to east is all the rage, as long as you do it on the Central Line, since those poor little District stops have all been Shore-ditched. Making a culinary west-east move, Cigalon, just opened in Chancery Lane
Run by former chef's from Smithfield's Michelin-starred, western-France-centric Club Gascon, this new fine-diner serves up fare from the east's Provence in a light, airy space where a large central atrium sits above striped-cushion banquettes and c-shaped booths, with low-slung, bicycle wheel-esque lights to illuminate the Greg LeMenu. Starters stretch from citrus & spice'd marinaded sardines, to red wine-sauced shallots, to bull cannelloni, a dish that takes huge balls to make. Heftier nourishment comes via line-caught salt cod w/ aioli, roast rabbit leg w/ Swiss chard and savory jus, grilled ribs of veal w/ olive and chickpea chips, and traditional lamb tripe & trotter stew, a sad but delicious testament to what life really does to eternal optimists
Downstairs can be found the St. Tropez-style Baranis bar, offering a petanque pit and a tasting room specializing in a range of west France's finest vino (Burgundy, Chablis, etc.), plus cocktails like a white rum & thyme daiquiri, and beers including Alcase's Meteor and the chestnut-flour brewed Pietra, from Corsica -- even further east, where the natives say of the country's uninhabitable glacial regions, "hey, at least it's not Whitechapel".