Gregory Marchand’s cool but smart London outpost has long been regarded as one of Covent Garden’s best. The area around the piazza can be a tricky place to find good, well-priced food but Frenchie is ever-reliable and delicious, with a menu built on a foundation of classic Anglo-French cooking.
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.
When you visit, don’t miss a handful of dishes that have been on the menu for many years, because they’re that good. Wolf down a bacon and maple syrup scone with clotted cream, then order another, because they're that good. The slow-cooked lamb ragu with pappardelle and Kalamata olives is another classic that never leaves the menu, the savoury richness balanced by a citrus hit of confit lemon.
After that, you can roam the eclectic billing – most things are rooted in classicism, but with little details that lift and enhance. Take a gorgeous, flaky tranche of turbot for example, where the cockle beurre blanc is straight from a textbook, but the yuzu puree comes flying in from the Far East, providing fruity acidity that elevates the whole dish. Accompanying wines are pitch-perfect, and a pair of desserts - a fabulous blood orange tartlet and an airy dome of deconstructed banoffee pie - show that there’s talent in the pastry kitchen too.
The restaurant was busy when we visited, on a Wednesday night no less - it seems Frenchie’s reputation as one of London’s most consistently excellent restaurants is alive and well.