The story goes that Gregory Marchand, the man behind Frenchie, got his nickname from working with Jamie Oliver at Fifteen. You can just imagine the scene as the new man arrives and cheeky chappie Oliver bowls up: "alright me old china, where you from then?" "I'm French" "strike a light; let's call you Frenchie, that'll go well with Germanie and Italie".
OK, maybe not, but however racial stereotyped the nickname may be, it actually works pretty well for the name of a French restaurant, although nowadays, I'm not entirely sure what that means. And at Frenchie things are decidedly Frenchish, if not typically French.
Whilst the sommelier is almost caricature French, I'm pretty sure that "bacon scone" doesn't feature in many temples to haute cuisine, which is a shame, as it really should.
The "humour" that young Gregory had to put up with has clearly rubbed off on him too, with cocktails like "Tequila Mockingbird" and "Love You Long Time" finding their way onto the menu. Again, no bad thing - the former being full of red berries (and tequila) and the latter a refreshing, gin-based number. Perfect to start a lunch with.
The menu is based around small plate sharing, which is of course how most every restaurant does it these days, but the dreaded words "the dishes come as prepared" did not pass our waiter's lips, and the pace through the snacks, the "mains" to the desert was leisurely, with our friendly sommelier helping us from the good selection of wines by the glass as we went.
Not wishing to be greedy, we went for one of each of the snacks on the menu: the aforementioned bacon scone (mmm bacon), egg mimosa (silky smooth) and pigs head with sauce gribiche (double thumbs up). For the "mains", we actually had a couple of dishes that were supposed to be starters: Ox heart and pappardelle were slightly bigger than the snacks (think three mouthfuls rather than one), but between these, some gorgeous aged Gouda and a pretty good chocolate mousse, we were nicely replete.
But hereby lies the rub: yes, the food is often lovely, yes the wines by the glass are great (although far and away the most expensive ones were the dessert pair chosen for us (sight unseen) by the sommelier), but how can a casual lunch, at a casual style bar setting come to over eighty notes a head, when we didn't even have any of the proper main course size dishes? That's just insane.
Frenchie is a lovely restaurant, in a lovely setting, with great staff, but be warned: check the prices of the suggested wines, as it can prove not to be cheap.