SquareMeal Review of Folie
Folie got off to a pretty strong start after it opened in November 2019, when a mere month later Victoria Beckham proclaimed it one of her favourite restaurants of all time. Given the à la mode interiors, this accolade from a British fashion icon should come as no surprise. Petrol-blue tub chairs clash with pink Formica tables, while the bar is adorned with gold and frosted glass table lamps for full-on frivolity.
The striking visuals set the scene well for a Mediterranean menu that delivers bold flavours in abundance. A well-seasoned starter of tuna tartare is cut into meaty chunks for impactful flavour and garnished with fresh Brussels sprout leaves for crunch and colour. Crisped octopus comes gnarled from the grill with sweet pumpkin tempering the saltiness from the sea, while whole flatleaf parsley pieces are used more as a salad than as a herb garnish, for a whack of grassiness.
Mains here are less of a success, with chicken paillard feeling a little lacklustre in its simplicity, although in terms of cooking we can’t complain – the flattened thighs come perfectly cooked and still juicy. The sharing menu items, we suspect, would be a better shout; we watched enviously as a whole Dover sole with lemon, capers and plankton bobbed past our table on its way to some other lucky recipients, its buttery smell suggesting its flavour would be equally as captivating.
For pudding, a sugar-coated ‘chichi’ doughnut-like dessert is filled with blackberry jam and served with apple sorbet for a delightfully nostalgic combination that somehow combines rich indulgence with a light touch.
Peppy, personality-filled service from friendly staff fits the colourful concept splashed all over the decor and menu. If time allows, don’t miss a drink at the bar. Sitting perched on a curved-back bar stool while one of the mixologists works their magic on classic cocktails instils a sense of old-world glamour to proceedings that isn’t often found in new restaurants.
Folie is the first solo project from Guillaume Depoix, the former operations manager of the Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch. The former hotel worker has decided to ditch East London in favour of a plum location on Golden Square, an area of the capital which is situated between Mayfair and Soho, two other thriving hubs of the restaurant scene in London.
It’s a contemporary take on the French Riviera’s dining culture, from Marseille to Portofino all the way through to St Tropez and Nice. The all-day menu features simple and unfussy French and Mediterranean food.
The food and drink menus take guests through from early breakfasts to late-night tipples. Whether you are in need of a quick business lunch or a relaxed sit down menu, Folie serves up the likes of sea bream crudo with citrus and avocado, and Provençal braised beef with confit potatoes. The sharing platters meanwhile include the likes of charcoal grilled sea bass with ratatouille. To finish, tarte tropézienne, seasonal sorbets and cheese boards all feature on the dessert menu.
There is a special focus on classic cocktails like Martinis and Negronis, as well as some rare pastis and vermouths to accompany the dishes. A selection of organic wine, most hailing from France, are also available to enjoy too.
Designed by Studio KO (previous interior designers for Chiltern Firehouse and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum), the restaurant takes its inspiration from the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1960s and 70s, presenting it in a contemporary and stylish way, with small elements of Parisian chic featuring throughout.
Folie also boasts a semi-private dining room for intimate gatherings, as well as a bar area where you can enjoy its expertly mixed cocktails before heading to the dining room to enjoy a Mediterranean inspired feast.