Think of a French brasserie and you’ll conjure up images of wooden chairs, red banquettes and an ornate pattered floor – yet despite its name Maison Francois does not subscribe to this tradition. In fact, the large dining room takes its interior design cues from a postmodern cement factory in Barcelona, with a concrete effect ceiling, high muted pink walls, smart cream leather banquette seating and a huge clock sat above the pass inspired by 1970s wristwatches .
By contrast the menu, overseen by Matthew Ryle, a finalist in the 2018 series of MasterChef: The Professionals (the restaurant takes its name from owner François O’Neill) is traditional hearty French brasserie through and through. Ryle appears to have had fun bringing some of the lesser seen French dishes to the capital, not least the oeuf en gelée – egg and cubed ox tongue encased in a sphere of aspic; and the ox tongue and heart brochette. There’s also no denying the kitchen’s mastery of pastry, thanks to head pastry chef Jérémy Prakhin: the pâté en croûte maison is as good as any served in Paris.
The wine list is as unashamedly Gallic, with sections dedicated to The Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Alsace and the Rhine, Chablis and Auxerre, Burgundy, Jura and Savoie: southern and northern Rhône, the Languedoc and Provence, and Roussillon although wines from the New World as well as Spain and Italy do feature.