French

PAVYLLON

Hamilton Pl, London W1J 7DR

Yannick Alléno is one of the most decorated Michelin-starred chefs in the game; he has 16 stars across his 17 international restaurants, including at his London outpost of Pavyllon inside the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane. And you can get up close and personal to his brigade by taking a seat at the expansive – and very comfortable – counter for one of the restaurant’s set menus, like the four- or six-course Immersive Mayfair experience. The kitchen’s modern French philosophy is on full display with dishes like crispy curry tartlet with crab and tomato jelly, comté souffle with watercress and eel butter, roasted duck with marinated beetroot, and sweet spiced clouds with coffee and vanilla, and each dish looks like a work of art too. The service at Pavyllon is impeccable, as you’d expect from a high-end hotel restaurant, but the chefs and staff behind the counter seem to be enjoying themselves as much as the diners on the opposite side, which just makes a meal here even better.

JOSEPHINE BOUCHON

315A Fulham Rd., London SW10 9QH

With a couple of notable exceptions, Fulham isn’t exactly bursting with great restaurants; so the arrival of Claude Bosi’s new place Josephine – which would be big news in any residential London neighbourhood – feels like an especially big dea. Inspired by Claude’s hometown of Lyon, Josephine is a gorgeous, classic French bistro, decked out with vintage prints, thick red velvet curtains, antique mirrors and candlelit marble tables. Named after Claude’s grandmother, the menu is inspired by the dishes that Josephine would cook for him when growing up, so you can expect traditional hearty French fare at every turn – onion soup, frog’s legs, terrine, and poireaux vinaigrette are just a few of the starters on offer for example. And you can follow those with the likes of chicken and mushroom vol au vent, sweetbreads with morel mushroom sauce, and whole rotisserie-cooked chicken with salad, a rich gravy, and potatoes. If you love big sharing puds then you’re in luck too as Josephine does rice pudding with caramelised apple and a chocolate mousse. All wines are from Rhone Valley, including Josephine’s own label wine, available in red, white and rosé, served in Bouchon-style metre wine, where the bottle is left on the table for guests to help themselves. At the end of the meal, the wine is measured with Josephine’s ruler and you pay only for what you’ve drunk – assuming you haven’t just nailed the whole bottle of course. 

BOUCHON RACINE

66 Cowcross Street, London

In Bouchon Racine in Farringdon, Henry Harris has created a gem of a place, along with co-owner and GM Dave Strauss. The menu is loosely based on Henry’s legendary Knightsbridge restaurant, Racine, which closed back in 2014 and that basically means classic, rich French dishes delivered with absolute aplomb. There’s a big chalkboard menu includes the likes of egg mayonnaise and salty Cantabrian anchovies; fatty middle white pork belly rillons served on a bed of simple salad with vinaigrette; roast rabbit dish with mustard sauce and bacon; confit lamb with wild mushrooms on a bed of mogette beans; and some big sharing steaks and chops if you’re feeling hungry. Do not miss out on the excellent chips and the insanely-good creamed spinach spiked with foie gras either. And for dessert, there’s a must-order creme caramel that’s out of this world.

LES 2 GARÇONS

Recently awarded The Good Food Guide’s Best Local Restaurant award for the whole of London, Les 2 Garçons is a highly rated French bistro in Crouch End. It was founded in 2021 by two old friends, Robert Reid and Jean-Christophe Slowik, who’d long dreamed of opening their own restaurant since meeting at The Oak Room in 1998. Since then, the restaurant’s been raking in the accolades – and not for nothing. This is a classic French bistro at its best, with its regularly changing menu of excellently executed traditional French food and its carefully curated wine list. If this is your bistro de quartier, you’re *very* lucky.

THE 10 CASES

This unpretentious bistro is centered around an accessible, fun and regularly changing wine list that features 10 reds and 10 whites (plus fizz and rosé), all of which are available by the glass, carafe or bottle. The team really make an effort to keep the list fresh – no wine has been listed twice in all the time The 10 Cases has been open – so it’s the perfect spot for trying something new. You can pair your vino with French-European bistro fare like comté gougères, pan-fried grey mullet with artichoke barigoule, steak frites & peppercorn sauce, and lemon tart. The wine bar, shop and cellar next door switches things up again with the wine offering – there are 16+ regularly-changing fine wines by the glass and more than 300 bottles available to takeaway or drink-in (with corkage).

BISTRO BARDOT

Located in a historic, 19th-century pub, Bistro Bardot (as the name suggests) is a bistro serving up a menu of classic French dishes. The pub sits just next to Wapping Gardens, so they have a pretty idyllic terrace complete with tasselled umbrellas and plenty of greenery. Indoors, the renovated interior is chic and welcoming, with deep teal walls and candlelit tables. Expect to find the likes of duck & pistachio paté en croute, escargot, ratatouille, beef bourguignon and a selection of French cheeses on the menu. They’re open in the evenings most days, but on Sundays, they offer a breakfast menu as well as a bottomless brunch option, so you can sip on Bloody Marys for 60 minutes straight while you tuck into some eggs royale.

THE CONNOR BROTHERS | MYTHOMANIA

Until 7th August 2022

The Connor Borthers are showing drawings and canvases from their latest collection The Regression Series with Mythomania at Maddox Gallery Westbourne Grove. The body of work started from art therapy sessions that the pair did during lockdown where they were asked to draw sixty second sketches of whatever came to mind. These childlike drawings were then then developed into paintings featuring fantastical creatures like dragons, unicorns and dinosaurs, which nod to the creative freedom of childhood, juxtaposed with text that reference modern anxieties and obsessions.

GALVIN LA CHAPELLE

With five sites to their name, the Galvin Brothers certainly know a thing or two about restaurants, and Galvin La Chapelle in the City shows off their hospitality to great effect. The high-ceilinged room, filled with chandeliers, shrubbery and draped curtains set the standard high before dinner has even been mentioned. Thankfully Galvin La Chapelle meets these expectations with the food dishes like foie gras, chicken & apricot terrine, chilled Charentaise melon soup with poached langoustine & fresh almonds, assiete of Herdwick lamb with courgette purée & tomato jam, and raspberry soufflé with raspberry coulis always hit the spot.

CHEZ BRUCE

Situated in Wandsworth, the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce takes pride in its old fashioned approach to French cooking – homemade charcuterie, classic puddings and an epic cheeseboard are just some of the things the restaurant takes the time and effort to do well. You can also expect to find dishes like duck liver parfait with toasted brioche, lobster & scallop ravioli with shellfish bisque, and pig’s cheek blanquette with stuffed potato skin, roast fillet & fennel choucroute on the menu. Directors Bruce Poole and Nigel Platts-Martin are just as serious about their wine as they are food and they’ve built up quite the cellar, so make sure to dive into the wine list.

MON PLAISIR

A true bistro, Mon Plaisir in Covent Garden is one of the oldest French restaurants in London. Opened in the 1940s and run by the Lhermitte family since the 1970s, the restaurant has an unsurprising loyalty to French classics: snails cooked in garlic, French onion soup, tartare de bouef, leg of duck, and coq au vin all make appearances on the menu. The decor follows the same theme – the front room is 1940s-themed, there are traditional French artwork on the walls and the bar even came from a Lyonnais brothel. If you’re looking for an unequivocally French experience, Mon Plaisir is the place to go.

L'ESCARGOT

A self-described Soho institution, L’Escargot has been serving up French brasserie style dishes since 1927, making it the oldest French restaurant in the capital, and has welcomed everyone from Princess Di to Coco Chanel to the Kray twins through the doors. Given they’ve had nearly a century of practice, it’s no surprise that they’ve got the food down to a fine art here, with generous servings of the namesake escargots in garlic butter, lobster bisque, coq au vin, tournedos rossini, and creme brulee. With three private dining rooms and a bar spread across the upper floors plus a very impressive art collection, it’s a place worth taking your time to admire.

OTTO'S

Despite opening in 2011, Otto’s looks as though it has been on the Gray’s Inn Road for many more years than that. If traditional French dining in a smart setting is your thing, then you’re in the right place. Suited waiters serve familiar French classics like Burgundian ‘Petit Gris’ snails, foie gras, lobster souffle, Dover sole meunière, and tarte tatin, or for particularly hungry diners, the piece de resistance, the canard a la presse, involving a whole duck pressed tableside and served in three courses. This is the kind of place where a meal turns into a multi-hour affair, and Otto makes sure to show his guests a good time, so you’ll want to linger to soak up the experience.

RANDALL & AUBIN

As restaurants and shops come and go in London, it’s nice to know there are some places that have stuck it out and stood the test of time. Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street is one of those places: a Soho institution that was originally founded as a butcher’s shop in 1908 and, since being converted in 1996, it has been one of the area’s most popular restaurants. It’s a classic and cosy space, with many of the original shop fittings on display, with just a touch of ‘Soho’ with a giant mirror ball that hangs from the ceiling. The menu is as classic as the space with a range of beautiful seafood and meats from the grill, it doesn’t get much better than the huge fruits de mer, laden with oysters, crab, shrimp and much more.

BRASSERIE ZEDEL

Brasserie Zédel serves classic brasserie dishes in a 1930s art deco building bang in the heart of Piccadilly. Described by three Michelin starred Pierre Koffmann as “the only real French Brasserie in London,” Zédel takes you out of the London smog and into Parisian decadence. Despite the grand architecture, Brasserie Zédel has a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere and very wallet friendly prices. On the menu you can find classics like French onion soup, steak with peppercorn sauce and duck confit with Lyonnaise potatoes. If you need a good meal in Central that won’t break the bank, Zédel is a great one to have up your sleeve.

UPSTAIRS AT THE FRENCH HOUSE

The French House is a Soho institution with some very specific rules, like only serving half pints and not allowing any tech inside, that only make you love it more. And upstairs you can really sink into the paint and history of the place and appreciate what really matters about French cooking. Their handwritten menu changes depending on the produce they have in that day but some recent hard hitters have been the bouillabaisse and roast cod, brawn and pickled onions, and Norfolk asparagus with sauce mousseline. Many times dessert can be an easy pass but with options like Madagascar chocolate and Baileys mousse on the cards, it can be hard to resist.

PATRON CAVE A MANGER

26 Fortess Rd, London NW5 2HB

Bringing a slice of Paris to the London neighbourhoods it inhabits, this classic French restaurant can be found in both Kentish Town and Highbury. The menu emphasises French comfort food – think slow cooked duck confit, croustillant aux champignons (a kind of French pie) along with traditional French charcuterie and starters like countryside terrine, Burgundy snails and oysters. If you’re partial to French grapes they have a considerable selection of natural, biodynamic and fine wine on offer, so whether it’s Grenache or Gamay, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Patron Cave a Manger should have you covered. A true French bistro where dining is casual and the food offering holds up.

GALVIN BISTROT & BAR

Galvin Bistrot & Bar, Bishops Square, Spital Square, London

Take a trip to France without leaving London by heading to Galvin Bistrot & Bar (just next door to Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields which knocks up one of the best Sunday roasts in London). The restaurant’s terrace, which does have covering and heaters should the weather turn, is inspired by the bistros and wine bars of Paris and Lyon, and is continuing the legacy of the Galvin brothers’ bistrot concept following the closure of Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street. The concise menu is full of well-executed and hearty classic dishes like tarte flambée Alsacienne, endive & Roquefort salad, entrecote steak frites and the famous Galvin brothers’ apple tarte tatin. Pair your food with a glass or two from the French-heavy wine list and you really will feel like you’ve crossed the Channel.

SOUTINE

Corbin & King (the restaurateurs team responsible for the likes of The Delaunay, The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel) have another hit on their hands with Soutine in St John’s Wood. A little slice of classic Paris in North London, Soutine has been made in the classic Corbin & King mould; an all-day cafe-restaurant (cafe with bar counter seating up front, restaurant in the back). The interiors are gorgeous, all wood panels, artworks, decorative tiles, and art deco lighting. Corbin & King aren’t known for trying to reinvent the wheel and Soutine is no different, with a classic French menu that’s the perfect match for its surroundings. Expect dishes like Isle of Skye queen scallops, dressed simply with lemon and herbs, confit de canard with puy lentils and a side of buttery mash, apple tart, and salted caramel eclair.

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