Mean Monsieur Mustard: Maille, Piccadilly

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He’s a rum fellow, your Frenchman.

There one is, tooling down Jermyn Street on a sun-washed autumn afternoon and thinking that this must indeed be God’s own country, when one’s thoughts turn – as one’s thoughts inevitably turn – toward geopolitics and condiments.

For one has ducked into Paxton & Whitfield, one has surveyed the all-but-infinite varieties of cheese (‘milk’s shot at immortality’, so they say) and one has drawn one’s conclusions. To whit, that those snail-chewing scoundrels across the Channel may be a sight too suave to be wholly trusted when it comes to international relations, but we see eye to eye on the important things. For just as a Briton cannot help but help himself when within reach of a perfectly ripe brie, a Frenchman will go at a Stilton like a fox at a dustbin.

But, one muses as one hooks a right into Piccadilly Arcade, weighing up one of P&W’s incomparable scotch eggs like a seam bowler with the new ball, the latter’s got the edge on Albion when it comes to mustard.

The Americans can claim their own, impotent variety and of course the Germans have had a respectable stab at making it, too. And whilst one wouldn’t dream of suggesting that Mr Coleman’s was anything but superb, this scotch egg deserves only the very best. And by the time one had arrived at this conclusion, one finds oneself outside Maille. Before one knows it, one has deposited said sausage-based snack on the counter and demanded to see Monsieur’s wares.

One will not be disappointed.

One could, of course, plump for a classic Dijon Originale direct from the pump, or indeed a good, honest wholegrain Chardonnay variety. Then again, since it ain’t the Sabbath, perhaps one should treat oneself to a smear of black truffle and Chablis or a spot of fragrant chanterelles and sorrel – and these at the conservative end of the menu, to say nothing of those laced with fig, coriander and white wine or gingerbread and chestnut honey. The list goes on. And on:

So whether one is looking for something classic with which to anoint a pork pie or something altogether more risqué with which to stuff a Christmas stocking, might we suggest a satisfying right-and-left? Paxton & Whitfield followed by Maille.