The ultra-modern floor-to-ceiling glass exterior is exquisitely lit at night and ensures that this bar and restaurant is the most eye-catching on the waterfront. Inside is a rather classy affair with a striking bespoke brass bar with suspended decanter lighting, parquet flooring throughout, velvet banquettes and leather armchairs which create an intimate dining space – making it the perfect mix of classic and contemporary. The open-plan kitchen provides an insight into the fast-paced cockpit of the restaurant and allows you to watch the skilled chefs in action while you sup on a gin and champagne cocktail – aptly named the ‘French’ – at the bar.
Quite rightly the menu honours the French classics such as garlic butter escargot, moules frites, beautifully fresh bouillabaisse, hearty beef Bourgignon and the luxurious chateaubriand for two but more contemporary plates of rock lobster, potted Cromer crab with sourdough and an outstanding burger in brioche shine through. It must be said I often think of their celebration of anchovies (the ultimate amuse bouche washed down with a glass of fizz) and the steak tartare as some of the best I’ve had the pleasure of eating.
Desserts offer something for all tastes with the ubiquitous tarte au citron, a rich chocolate delice as well as a summer berry pavlova and pistachio soufflé.
The set menu changes every month and is a steal at £11.95 for 2 courses. I have no doubt their roast sirloin or Bretagne chicken on a Sunday, which is served all day and is very much en famille, would be a triumph.
The quote featured on the drinks menu seems to reflect the generosity of options here – “Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water”. There is a section dedicated solely to Gin encouraging you to tailor your own perfect G & T, the cocktails are expertly designed with your French classics but also some more adventurous seasonal offerings like rhubarb and honey Martini.
The cellar is also as diverse with good solid French bottles as well as European and New World varieties. The house champagne though, Blanc de Blancs, is just outstanding, full of peach and apple notes, and is very reasonable at £28.50 a bottle.
This is a brasserie in the truest sense of the word. It brings the glorious taste of France to London’s riverside scene in the most welcoming fashion, and I just couldn’t get enough of its stylish sophistication and charm.