When husband-and-wife team Marie and Greg “Frenchie” Marchand opened Frenchie, a small-but-modern restaurant tucked beside a garment district alley in 2009, they didn’t expect to win accolades from many of Paris’s most respected critics. And yet, its exceptional bistro dishes (brown butter skate, ambrosial roast chicken, suckling pig) earned the diminutive spot global recognition, leading the duo to open Frenchie Bar à Vins in 2011, then the more casual Frenchie To Go. By the end of September 2015 wine bar Frenchie Caviste opened, leaving Paris, it seemed, thoroughly conquered. And so, in March 2016, the Frenchie brand expanded into London, with the debut of the new Frenchie Covent Garden.
“I love London and I am so excited to have the opportunity to bring Frenchie over here and to feed on the energy, the diversity and the riches the city has to offer,” says Greg of the decision to open abroad. Executive sous chefs Matteo Nardin and Francois Roche have helped craft a menu influenced by Greg’s travels, with dishes inspired by such diverse locales as New York’s Gramercy Tavern and Spain’s beach bars—all underpinned by classical French technique. Produce is a focus, with vegetables supplied by Terrois d’avenir based in Rue du Nil and Natoora and a seasonal menu. On a recent visit, Cornish skate with puntarelle and a grenobloise sauce was followed by a bittersweet chocolate tart with Maldon sea salt and bacon ice cream. A zesty orange cake reworked from a recipe by former pastry chef William Neff’s grandmother, bears mentioning for its bright, well-balanced flavour.
Elegantly designed by renowned set designer Emilie Bonaventure, the space features exposed brick walls, parquet flooring, and a lengthy marble bar, accented by brass, copper, and zinc details for a feminine, sophisticated feel. Add the staff’s refreshingly upbeat energy, and Frenchie may be one of London’s most buoyant, exciting new spots to dine.
Frenchie Covent Garden, 16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London, England, 0207 836 4422.