In an enviable St James’s spot formerly occupied by Green’s restaurant and bar, Maison Francois draws inspiration from the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace with MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Matthew Ryle taking up the helm in the kitchen.
The name behind the new venture is Francois O’Neill, whose pedigree in the restaurant industry should stand him in good stead. O’Neill’s father Hugh was co-founder of Brasserie St Quentin in Knightsbridge which later became Brompton Bar & Grill when Francois took over in 2008.
Chef Matthew Ryle also has an impressive heritage, having trained at The Dorchester before becoming head chef at Mayfair fashion hangout Isabel at the tender age of 22.
Maison Francois serves a menu of French brasserie classics such as Reblochon gougères, oeufs mimosa and ravioli dauphine alongside a selection of fresh seafood, hearty terrines, patés and homemade charcuterie to keep patrons happy from lunch through to dinner. A wood-fired grill turns out cuts of meat and whole fish, while vegetarians are well catered for with the likes of pea fricassee with broad beans, gem lettuce, Riesling and tarragon.
For something sweet diners can look forward to the arrival of a traditional pudding trolley serving all the adored French classics: praline Paris-Brest, gateau Marjolaine and a selection of seasonal fruit tarts. The restaurant also houses an in-house bakery serving breads and patisserie, available all day but perfect for breakfast.
The decor is equally traditional, with art-deco chandeliers suspended from the 20ft-high ceilings, mirrored arches and off-white drapery.
Downstairs, Frank’s wine bar offers up rustic sharing plates of cold meats and terrines with carefully matched wines and sherries. Both restaurant and bar are watched over by the eager eye of Ed Wyand, former maître d’ at Scott’s and owner of Verden wine bar, who heads up the front of house team.
According to O’Neill: “Maison François will be everything a brasserie should be – welcoming, fun and hospitable, with classic dishes made with the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – while also ripping up the rulebook when it comes to service.
“We’ll show great respect for the legendary restaurants we admire, while marrying this heritage with our love for the dining culture of cities across France. Brasserie St Quentin is a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the brasserie tradition.”