Opened in 1972 and reputedly ‘London’s first all-day brasserie’, this vintage homage to the genre is note-perfect, from the prints, tiled floors and spindly-legged tables to the red banquettes and logoed mirrors. A curved, marble-topped bar holds centre stage and encourages gregarious Chelsea socialising, with hordes of celebs, movers and shakers crammed in at peak times for true Gallic wines, cocktails and digestifs. The food is also the ‘real deal’ – a roll call of brasserie icons, from ‘le brunch’ (croquet monsieur, eggs Benedict) to ‘wonderful’ soupe à l’oignon, a standout version of steak tartare, rabbit stew and coq au vin, not forgetting lemon tart and profiteroles. Cheery staff in ‘penguin’ garb whizz around with silver trays, breakfast gives a ‘full English’ nod to Blighty, and there’s afternoon tea too. ‘I hope it never changes!’ pleads one fan.
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