Un Frenchie à Londres

Having failed to secure a booking two or three times in Paris, I waited for the mountain to come to Mohammed and Jo and I visited the newly-opened Frenchie in Covent Garden on Friday night, instantly raising the average age of the customers by about ten years and causing average trendiness to plummet. At 21:45 we had secured what I call a “late” booking and what the clientele of Frenchie call “the start of a good night out”.

First up, some plaudits, given the achingly “now” clientele, location, design and pedigree I promptly expected service to disappear up its own bleached and waxed fundament, sneering at anyone who didn’t have Anna Wintour on speed-dial. Not a bit of it. Charmingly, relaxed, friendly and unaffected; on the ball and on the money. Service was fantastic.

Interesting wine list too, albeit a bit under-populated at the bottom end – though this was offset by the decent availability of by-the-glass and –carafe. It may say “Frenchie” over the door but the list is eclectically global.

It was the food divided us. I thought it was good. An especially tipping of my hat to a rabbit pappardelle, which was suitably rustic and packed with flavour. Flavoursome lamb, also. Jo, however, was not having it - especially after two bits of gristle, one in the bunny (it happens, it’s that kind of beast…) and one in her lamb (less forgivable). What really got her back up, though was the usual small plate thing (did I mention it’s small plates, surely you kind of assumed the inevitability of it anyway…?) of racking up a sizeable bill and still feeling the need to stop the taxi on the way home to pick up a kebab.

Thinking back on it, it’s probably a testament to how far London has come on food-wise. Make no mistake, the cooking at Frenchie was very good. But then again, so it the cooking at The Dairy, Clove Club, Dabbous, Lyles etc etc and any one of a dozen or more places of the same ilk. I though Jo was being harsh – the food was good - but then again I probably wouldn’t rush back myself and I keep worrying away at why? Jaded palette, maybe. You can definitely do a lot worse than Frenchie around Covent Garden, especially if you’re looking for a bit of glam.

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I think I be with Jo on this. Gristle - and small plates. Nah, not a place for me.

Hopefully, the gristle was a one-off. You should have told the manager/waiter or whoever. Maybe they
have a dud in the kitchen. :slight_smile: Maybe at that late hour, the staff is asleep on their feet?

I’m anxious to try this place having never gotten their Paris location. I am getting a bit tired of the small
plates routine. It’s hard on the pocketbook.

Although living in Paris, never been to Frenchie despite all the recommendations and reviews. Didn’t know it was so difficult to reserve.

Here too, a bit tired of this “small plates routine” - which was what happened in Porte 12, very good cooking, but ridiculous portion. We kept asking the waiter for more bread. My eating partner was very impressed with the cheese course, a plate with a transparent paper like Comté about 3 cm x 1 cm x 1mm and 1 leaf, and 1 drop of sauce, very minimalist. For the palette, I could hardly tell it was cheese.

To my mind, it’s often an issue with “small plates” or tasting menus. There will be a small drop of sauce, or something - too small to really taste what it’s like.

Although Palomar in London does the small plates thing, I felt each dish was delicious and there was enough to make me happy. I can’t wait to eat there again.

I’m not sure why we’ve never tried Frenchie in Paris. We always seem to end up somewhere else.

Slightly disappointing to hear they have gone small plate in the London opening, I thought the Paris place was still fully plated dishes. I did eat in the Paris one soon after he opened and it was good enough to return for a lunch the next day, that said it wasn’t good enough to generate all the hype that made it a crazy reservation.