Readers simply adore Gregory Marchand’s cool but smart London outpost, dubbing it “the best restaurant in Covent Garden” – a fitting plaudit for an elegantly lit, buzzy spot known for its “warm, informal service” and “innovative food”.
Nantes-born Marchand was previously head chef at Fifteen, where Jamie Oliver gave him the nickname Frenchie. Today he operates a mini-empire on Rue du Nil in Paris, (a restaurant, wine bar, wine shop and Frenchie To Go), plus this smart London eatery which features bare bricks, marble tops and elegant lighting, as well as an open kitchen downstairs that’s great for private dining.
The chef is known for combining the best of France and Britain, while his inventive dishes are a showcase for impeccable seasonal ingredients and creative flavour combinations.
We recommend sampling his addictive bacon and maple syrup scones with Cornish clotted cream, before you do anything else. After that, you can roam the eclectic menu – perhaps beginning with a light, elegant starter of smoked mackerel with pickled radish, dressed snow peas, smoked yoghurt and edible flowers, or slow-cooked lamb ragù with pappardelle and Kalamata olives, the savoury richness balanced by a citrus hit of preserved lemon.
Mains might see Cornish brill partnered by plump seared gnocchi, earthy girolles and Padrón peppers or neat slabs of Sussex pork accompanied by sweet Mirabelle plums, apple, black pudding and a crunchy sage crumble. To finish, the deconstructed banoffee pie is an airy dome of delight; pillowy mousse contrasted with cool banana and caramelised pecan nuts.
Talented sommelier Bastien Ferreri oversees a “superb” wine list that’s perfectly pitched to match this imaginative food, and his on-trend selection from artisan, eco-friendly producers is a joy to explore. Accomplished cocktails such as an Alpine Negroni (Portobello Gin, Suze, Cocchi Americano, Genepi and lemon bitters) add further flair. “Full marks!” concludes one delighted reader.