France’s national day (14 July) is one of the most important commemorations in the French calendar: from the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille there followed the early form of the republic we know today. Across the channel, Bastille Day is as good an excuse as any to indulge in some of France’s most decadent gastronomic pleasures. From cocktail flights and five-course feasts to picture-perfect patisserie.
What: Die-hard fans of James Knappett and Sandia Chang’s gourmet-hot-dog-and-grower-fizz restaurant enjoy getting their chops around the regular guest dogs. To chime with Bastille Day, French chef Daniel Boulud has loaned the DBGB Dog from its New York home for the whole of July – it’s a killer mix of gourmet sausage, sautéed onions, signature sauce and house relish, with a friseé-and-radish garnish.
How much: £8 each
Where: 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG
La Poule au Pot
What: Possibly one of the most French (and romantic) restaurants in London, La Poule au Pot deals in predictably Gallic food served in a charming, age-worn dining room crammed with bushels of dried heather and rustic objets evoking French farmhouse life. Toast Bastille Day with one of three pastis-based cocktails (flavoured with grenadine, mint or almond liqueurs); then get stuck into à la carte classics.
How much: cocktails £5.50 each; standard à la carte menu
Where: 231 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UT
What: With its minimalist Scandi stylings, the first London outpost of Eric Kayser’s internationally renowned chain of artisan bakeries-cum-restaurants is one cool customer. It will be business as usual in the elegant bakery and adjoining 60-cover restaurant – if there’s anywhere better in which to debate Marie Antoinette’s alleged revolutionary-baiting utterance of ‘Let them eat cake’, then we’d like to hear about it.
How much: usual bakery and restaurant prices apply
Where: 8 Baker Street, W1U 3BS
Petit Pois Bistro
What: If anyone can make Bastille Day hip, it’s the chic bistro on top of cult Hoxton basement cocktail bar Happiness Forgets, serving unpretentious but well thought-out dishes in a buzzing atmosphere. For Bastille Day, the five-course set menu starts with Burgudian snails drenched in parsley-and-garlic butter and culminates in a towering croquembouche, with three modern takes on historic classics in between.
How much: £55 per person (excluding wine and service)
Where: 9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
What: This opulent and eccentric cocktail lounge is hosting a two-day celebration of all things French from 14-15 July. Four French-inspired cocktails will be given top billing on Tony Conigliaro’s menu: highlights include the Tatin 75 (beurre noisette-infused Cognac, apple caramel, cider) and the Champs Elysées (Cognac, green chartreuse, lemon, sugar, bitters). You can also sample three styles of pastis. Santé!
How much: £11.50 per cocktail, or £30 for a flight of three
Where: The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone, 28-30 Seymour Street, W1H 7JB
What: This Bastille Day, Parisian restaurateur and charcuterie expert Stéphane Reynaud will launch a ‘mise en bouche’ menu, available in the wine bar of his stylish, high-ceilinged restaurant in the basement of the Boundary hotel. The menu comprises three hors d’oeuvres, all made with the day’s best seasonal produce, and each matched with its own wine – they make a delicious intro to your meal.
How much: £15 per board (including wine; excluding service) and to celebrate Bastille Day receive two 'mise en bouche' boards for the price of one; available every day from 6-8pm
Where: Boundary Hotel, 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD
Hungry for more? Feast your eyes on our guide to the best French restaurants in London
This article was published 14 July 2017