Lovers of big, juicy birds, rare red meat and plenty of sauce, the French with their penchant for pure indulgence sure know how to put on a show. Before our city’s culinary revolution, the country’s food was widely considered the best in town — especially when it came to fine dining, with Escoffier setting the bar for the likes of the Roux brothers and Raymond Blanc.
Though as bare brick walls and small plates gained in popularity, its dominance slipped and new openings slowed. Stalwarts such as L’Escargot and Chez Bruce remain, joined by Otto’s and Alain Ducasse, and followed by instant classics such as Maison François and Frenchie, but now momentum is really picking up again, with a host of new French eateries flinging open their doors.
Parisian institution Lapérouse has arrived with two new spaces at the OWO hotel: Salon Lapérouse and Pavillon Café Lapérouse. Similar in terms of what they serve, the latter’s space-age pavilion is the glamorous yet relaxed place to enjoy a duck pâté en croûte with foie gras, while the former is more of a sensual, luxurious affair offering beef Wellington to share alongside live piano.
Meanwhile jazzy, glossy Bob Bob Ricard offshoot, Bébé Bob, revolves around rotisserie chicken reared in western France, offered alongside a Burgundy and champagne-heavy wine list. Further up town, 64 Goodge Street serves a hearty, imaginative menu based on the basics of French cooking, but with a fun, inventive approach, as seen in its snail, bacon and garlic ‘bon bons’.
And similarly, Patrick Powell’s delightfully decadent seasonal comfort food at the Midland Grand Dining Room isn’t hemmed in by tradition, promising clever nods to British ingredients and other cuisines in dishes such as snails bourguignon with pomme paillasson, ’nduja and guanciale. C’est bon.