The Magical Flavours at Frenchie Covent Garden
Whenever I’m at Frenchie for a meal, it’s always great. It first started in Paris and I absolutely love their wine bar; great food, great wine and fun atmosphere – best of all, Frenchie has opened in London’s Covent Garden!
I have head chef and owner of Frenchie, Greg Marchand’s, first cookbook ‘La Cuisine du Frenchie at Home’ and was lucky to have him autograph it. It’s precious and now, it’s a great coffee table read from time to time. Yes – I’m wired differently, I’m a foodie who quite enjoys reading good cookbooks!
I found Frenchie Paris in 2013 via fellow foodie and blogger Wendy Lyn, who is a good friend of Gregory Marchand. At that time, she was telling me that she was helping him set up Frenchie to Go and what I must absolutely order when I dine there. She is the crème de la crème of the foodie scene in Paris. Be sure to check out her blog, Paris is My Kitchen, and book a food tour with her the next time you’re there, it will be an unforgettable journey. She’s a pro and also a really fun and cool guide.
The first time I visited Frenchie in London’s Covent Garden was in the summer of 2016, heading there directly from Heathrow I managed to snag a last minute late night dinner spot at the bar – which instantly became my favourite place to dine. The second time it’s for lunch and once again, I’m arriving directly from Heathrow! It’s become a ritual to arrange my first meal whilst visiting London to be at Frenchie ever since they opened.
Again, we chose to be seated the bar. For parties of 3 or less it’s always so much more fun, and of course it means you can also chat easily with the bartender and the sommelier. The sommelier is always my best friend when I’m dining out, but sitting at the bar makes it so much easier for them to show me the bottles that they are recommending – I love wine, and more so, Champagne, so this is always such a treat.
Frenchie always has great Champagne houses available on the wine list, most of which are not from the more commonly known larger houses, meaning that there are always new and interesting flavours on tap for me try. I was hoping to order the same champagnes I had the last time I dined there but unfortunately they weren’t available.
Just a quick mention, that if you ever see champagnes from Jacques Lassaigne and Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne, you have to try them. They are both dry Champagnes but their textures and characters are quite opposite from each other; Lassaigne has a very elegant texture, a bit under extra dry, the bubbles are very fine, and it brings forth a beautiful tinge of rhubarb. The Chartongne-Taillet is quite the opposite, very dry but lively and has a tinge of salt to its flavour, which makes it perfect for heavier or oily food.
I love wines with a tinge of salt in them, especially the whites from Cinque Terre as the grapes are seasoned by the winds from the sea and thus have the natural taste of salt in the fruit…but I digress, I’ll be discussing champagnes in much more detail another time so watch out for that post.
This visit, Julie, the magical and spirited sommelier at the helm of all wines recommended that we try the extra Brut from Francis Boulard; pairing it with our á la carte order of Foie Gras with Rhubarb. It did not disappoint – I’m so glad they were able to let us order this as it’s usually only a set menu for lunch – a great start to the meal.
Great flavours are all about the balance that is created to complement one another; the slight tanginess from the rhubarb offsets the heaviness of the Foie Gras – perfect! Next came the Burrata which was served with a pea purée.
Now, I don’t like peas, and I even used to pick them off or just quickly gobble them up first in one go so that I could enjoy the rest of my meal at my own pace; growing up in our house, you had to finish them otherwise you didn’t get to leave the table…when mommy said so and you had to listen. As they say, old habits die hard, so I started to first taste the pea purée…but it was so good that I was mopping every scrap of it off with the Burrata…mommy would be proud!
We ordered the Asperges Velouté as Julie said that its an absolutely must – I’m so glad I did, as it was just divine! Perfect combination with the poached egg. Next came a dish that you really can’t go wrong with when ordering at Frenchie, the Duck Ragú Parpadelle with Lemon Confit, Kalamata Olives and Espelette.
It is always very good and isn’t the first time I’ve ordered it. The combination of all these ingredients is perfect. Frenchie is the first restaurant that I’ve had Lemon Confit paired with pasta and if you haven’t tried it before, you must. Besides, I’m biased, I love Espelette, nothing can go wrong with this spice!
We finished with the Confit of lamb. Wow. Just that. As with confit, I always find it a tad salty but when paired with crusty bread and champagne, life’s great. FYI, I spent an unhealthy amount of time just staring at how beautifully presented this dish was before digging in.
Having arrived into London late due to a delay leaving Zürich so it was already time to leave for my meeting which is a huge pity as it meant that we had to skip dessert. Honestly, I’m not a great fan of desserts, but at Frenchie, you shouldn’t ever miss dessert. Oh well, there’s always next time!
Stefan, one of the restaurant managers, and Julie were great hosts during our lunch. Fabulous conversations and I must return to pick up my autographed copy of #CookforSyria in which Gregory Marchand contributed a recipe. You can also pick one up at any booksellers, online, or at the restaurant.
Time to make my next reservation at Frenchie Covent Garden. Personally, I prefer dinner as I feel like I have the whole evening to spend there and order, ah-hem, at least two (okay maybe three) bottles of champagne instead of one. Enjoy!
Photography Credit: Natalie Yeoh-Flipse