A splendid beacon of French classicism on the banks of the Thames, The French Horn is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. Originally a coaching inn, this traditional restaurant with rooms has been run by the Emmanuel family since the early seventies and continues to thrive thanks to their passion for fresh, seasonal ingredients and excellent wine.
Michael Emmanuel, who trained under Paul Bocuse in Lyon and Roger Verge in Mougins, ensures the kitchen maintains the high standards he worked to in France in everything from the style of each dish to the presentation and taste. Here you’ll find luxury on a plate with the likes of lobster thermidor, foie gras terrine, and chateaubriand, though spit-roasted duck is a speciality.
While the menu focuses heavily on meat and seafood, head chef Josiane Diaga ensures vegetarians and vegans get a look in with the likes of pea and artichoke risotto, and chickpea, courgette and basil bake laced with balsamic dressing. Traditional Gallic desserts such as white chocolate panna cotta with dark chocolate sauce and dark chocolate and orange mousse, and raspberry soufflé are unmissable, and there’s plenty on the wine list to keep even the most dedicated Francophile happy.
Of course, being fully committed to French gastronomy means that dining here is about more than just the food. Proper service that’s attentive yet discreet and where diners’ enjoyment is paramount is rare, but you’ll find it in abundance here, along with pretty riverside views from the dining room and terrace. It’s easy to forget you’re just minutes from a train station that can get you to the capital in half an hour when at The French Horn, which could well account for the fact that the place is always busy. What’s more, if you don’t live locally and want to extend your stay in this pleasant spot, it’s worth checking out the restaurant’s rooms, which are a little old-fashioned but charming nonetheless.