After a much-needed wash & brush-up, John McClements’s French bistro is gleaming clean & sparkly. Not that much has changed: the tablecloths are still retro gingham, the barn-like ceiling still exposed to view. Nevertheless, the spruce-up has produced an air of intentional nostalgia, & the locals who had been frequenting the restaurant in dribs & drabs are now coming in their droves. They receive properly cooked French classics – coquilles St Jacques with thermidor sauce, black pudding en croûte with Dijon sauce, cassoulet & coq au vin – nicely served & at a fraction of the price of the West End. Likewise, the French wine list contains plenty of choice under £20. Vegetarians get slim pickings, but familiar French desserts (crêpe Suzette, rum baba) end meals on a high. Ma Cuisine will never be comfortable enough to be a destination restaurant, but as a local, it’s hard to beat.
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