It’s directly opposite the mighty Pollen Street Social, but Jason Atherton’s ‘absolutely brilliant’ sibling inhabits a very different world indeed. Brush through the heavy red curtain and you’re immediately in a humming Parisian cocoon overseen by ‘utterly charming’, aproned staff with French accents and confident smiles; close-packed rustic tables, ox-blood banquettes, Michelin maps and prints set the mood perfectly as the good times begin. Meanwhile, the kitchen raises the bistro bar by serving up intricate, earthy flavours for big-city palates – from bowls of spoon-licking Jerusalem artichoke risotto studded with curried sweetbreads to roast cod with cannellini beans, fennel, morteau sausage and girolles. Atherton’s kitchens are always blindingly good on desserts, and this is no exception – we adore the brown-sugar tart with crème-fraîche sorbet and black-sesame crumble. The racy French wine list is a persuasive seducer, or you can perch at the bar with a cocktail and imagine you’re on the Boulevard Saint-Michel.
This Parisian-style bistro across the road from the main Pollen St restaurant is a good example of condensation, with fewer than 50 wines, half by the glass/carafe. It’s heavily French, but there are still flashes of quirkiness alongside the classics, it looks great and it’s easy to follow.
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