Places To Eat In London: Frenchie, Covent Garden
When I reviewed lunch at Oldroyd in Islington I made a resolution to try more of London’s fantastic value set menus. It is telling as to how good I am at sticking to resolutions that only now I’ve got around to trying another one, but I’m pretty sure that anyone who has tried the set lunch / pre-theatre, 3 courses for £30 set menu at Frenchie in Covent Garden will agree that it was well worth the wait.
We each had three different starters. I both loved and was surprised by my plate of Tomato and Watermelon Salad, Taramasalata, Pine Nuts, Olive & Pickled Chilli, which was both delicious and well balanced, and full of little surprises and textures, like tart bursts of red currents, white currants and gooseberries, and the harsh burn of quick pickled shallots. Ed’s Lamb Ragù Pappardelle with Kalamata Olives and Preserved Lemon was a mouthwatering classic, and Freya’s dish of Braised Carrot Carpaccio, Smoked Ewe’s Ricotta and Dressed Quinoa Salad was both very pretty and a true masterclass in everything that can be done with a humble carrot. Choose any of these depending on your preferences as you won’t be short changed by any of them.
We also opted for different mains. I know I’m bias but I think my Glazed Chicken Leg with Fresh Corn Polenta and basil was the prettiest, and it really did follow on from my starter when it came to adding in little unexpected bursts of flavour that really, really worked. That is not to say that Ed’s Pollock with Harissa Beurre Blanc was not also a beauty, full of fresh, bright and bold flavours. Freya’s Lasagna with Courgette, Smoked Egg Yolk, Tomato Relish, Black Olives and Basil was a bit humbler, really letting the classic, Provincial flavours sing.
We did stray a little from the set menu (past my small glass of white wine, that is) to order the plump, homemade potato gnocchi bathed in a rich parmesan cream. They were so impossibly light and creamy, a little indulgence with every bite. Perhaps if you’re looking for more of a dinner pre-theatre, get these.
While I don’t want to cast aspersions on Ed’s pretty Strawberry, Passion Fruit and Basil Pavlova, made with both fresh and frozen cream which was very pretty and very delicious, I think us girls really struck gold with the Banoffee, Nutmeg and Caramelised Pecan number. Just look at it on the plate, billowing clouds of caramelised mousse with a fresh banana sorbet filling, dusted with nutmeg and served on a crunchy, nutty base. Okay, so it was a bit sweeter than something I’d usually go for, and I would have liked way more of that delicious sorbet, but that does not mean that it was not still pretty divine.
You can find out more about Frenchie, check out their menus and book a table on their website. If you’re a Parisian rather than a Londoner, you can find the locations of the rest of the restaurants in the Frenchie group here.