EVERY list of Soho survivors has L’Escargot right near the top. This French restaurant has been trading at 48 Greek Street for nearly a century.

The building is one of the most historic in Soho: a grand Georgian townhouse, built in 1741 and now festooned with French flags and their trademark neon sign.

These days, many Londoners may walk right past. But L’Escargot still has much to offer.

When you visit, be sure to explore upstairs. The restaurant, which includes three private dining rooms, sprawls over several floors and displays an eclectic collection of art.

There are hundreds of paintings and photographs, including works by Grayson Perry, Francis Bacon and David Hockney.

The overall décor is unapologetically grand and over-the-top. Imagine chandeliers, ornate mirrors, heavy velvet and some remarkable glass lights above the bar that my friend described as looking like upside-down jellyfish.

The carpet in the rear dining room deserves a special mention – a swirling, psychedelic design that is almost too much to bear.

We visited on a weekday evening and there was a zip to the atmosphere. The staff were extraordinarily friendly and the space two-thirds full.

The menu here is succinct – mainly Gallic classics and others with a British or Italian twist. The solid wine list features around a dozen options by the glass.

Start with a lobster bisque or snack on cocktail sausages glazed with Worcester sauce; move onto steak, fish or roast partridge with bread sauce and game chips.

Vegetarian options include a wild mushroom linguine or risotto with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle.

There are snails, of course, which for decades were farmed down in the basement. These come smothered in garlic butter, flambéed with Pernod or baked into a pie with mushrooms and Roquefort.

We shared a slab of pâté en croûte and a colourful salad of avocado, pomegranate and crumbled pistachios – a more modern addition to the menu.

Next, a portion of confit duck on a bed of white beans flavoured with fresh tarragon.

Pudding was most memorable: a zingy Amalfi lemon tart with thin, crisp pastry and served with a dollop of crème fraiche.

Prices are not too steep considering the location. L’Escargot’s fixed price menu, served 12-3pm and 5-7pm, is £28 for three courses. Our main course duck dish was £24.

To be honest, the vibe at L’Escargot is not to everyone’s taste. My friend felt it was all a bit faded, but I loved the warm welcome, excellent service and sense of history.

Don’t miss the bar at the top of the building. Painted red and green, this warm and cosy space is lit by a large skylight in the day and is casually decked out with rugs and sofas.

Their pianist Carl Joseph plays here at the weekends and it’s a cunning retreat in the heart of Soho – open to all as long as you buy a few drinks or their classic afternoon tea.

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