The beloved Soho stalwart that delights in old school French cooking
This tiny upstairs dining room above what looks to be a standard Soho boozer has an illustrious culinary history, having once been home to Margot and Fergus Henderson before the latter left to open St John, with Margot staying on with Melanie Arnold before also moving on to open Rochelle Canteen.
It’s now in the safe hands of chef Neil Borthwick, husband of Angela Hartnett, who left Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch to take on the space at the tail end of 2018 with little pomp or ceremony. Borthwick quickly set about reintroducing the kind of hearty, fuss-free fare that always felt so at home in the surroundings, reinstating The French House as the go-to place for Soho gourmands.
Menus are handwritten daily and prone to change but you’re likely to see Carlingford oysters, alongside other starters of pig’s head terrine with pickles; and calf’s brain with brown butter, capers and parsley.
The selection of mains is either/or, with normally a choice of two (vegetarians and vegans may struggle here) and the list of sides is equally tight – often just its now trademark aligot, made from cheese and garlic blended into mashed potatoes; a green salad; and greens. No dish breaks the £20 mark (not that we’ve seen anyway).
In short, Borthwick has created a democratic and deeply satisfying restaurant the likes of which Soho had been crying out for since the Hendersons, and more recently Florence Night of Polpetto, vacated the upstairs room. The only challenge is getting a table.