The clean eating revolution. Something I have learned to dread, as it engulfs the world around me. Green is good. Oils are bad. Flowery is great. Dull is worse. Artistic is excellent. Common is sub par. Some might say that this is a case of form over substance.
On this basis of analysis, Frenchie serves up an elegant feast.
We decided to dine at the bar. All the better to watch the bartender at action and being the nosy person I am, to also see what the other patrons were imbibing. Through our careful observation, we did get a hint of what our food would be like. Flowery. I watched with piqued interest as the bartender pulled out a container of decorative flowers and proceeded to artistically arrange these in the various drinks. Uncouth drinker that I am (not drinking at all), I did wonder idly if this made the drink seem more sweet. Yet, I hope that you do not come to this blog for my clever frivolities about alcoholic beverages. So putting such distractions aside, best start with the bread.
Sourdough from the famed Hedone with whey butter. Bread lover that I am, we had to order the bread. Although I did note in annoyance that you must pay a pretty penny (almost GBP1 for each slice) for this. It was good but perhaps suffered from being a bit too heavy, perhaps on account of the cost. When you are paying a not insubstantial sum for lunch, I have been accustomed to having some items thrown in. Weightier than I would have liked.
Corn porridge, pickled chili, oregano and corn shoots. I was very wary when I saw this on the menu. I need not have worried so much. The corn in many different forms with a delicate hint of spice was smooth and satisfying. The taste lived up to the presentation, outstanding.
Sea bream carpaccio, olive crumble, hazelnuts, tomato and watermelon. Painting a very pretty picture, the collection of artfully arranged discordant notes led to a surprisingly light taste. Perhaps on account of the razor thin slices of fish. Yet pretty as it was, I think I prefer to have my seafood with more bite.
Cornish whiting, bean ragout and raspberries. The ragout was creamy and delicious, the whiting ok if a bit bland, the foliage not really to my taste and the raspberries a juxtaposition. Overall a weird, not great, not bad but so so dish.
Smoked pork belly, aubergine, hazelnut and pickled mustard. This was to be the surprise of the meal. I am accustomed to pork belly being juicy, moist and decadent on account of its placement near juicy (read fatty) parts of the pig. Try as I might, I could not find any plumpness on the pork belly. Which was not a fatal flaw for me. Instead, the straw that broke the camel’s back was that the pork belly was dry. Of all piggie cuts, I expected this to not suffer from this particular malady. Although on a positive element, I guess it tasted healthy.
Banoffee, nutmeg and caramelized pecan. A feast for the eyes, this cream ball hid banana and delightful pecan inside. An interesting light take on one of my favorite stodgy desserts. Something to recommend to come back to.
Yellow peaches, almond crumble and Verbena ice cream. The peaches were bright and healthy looking. They tasted like that too. The crumble was as tasty as flour and sugar could be. The aforementioned parts were not really to my liking but the ice cream was good.
A clean lunch it was. With pretty flowers, careful presentation and neat impersonal service. I noticed that every dish was served by a different waiter. A bit more friendliness might have been in order as I would have liked it if I was asked at least once how my meal had gone. Although, maybe in hindsight it was better that I did not give them a piece of my mind, unlike in Elliots. Yet, I guess perhaps it was for the better that I had something so healthy for lunch as I got to live a different type of life for a change. Although my fatty self did complain that he was left out in the cold. Perhaps he might feel better with a flower from one of the drinks in his hair. But then again, perhaps not.
A quiet eating 6.5/10.
Lunch (3 courses) was GBP32 excluding drinks and service.
16 Henrietta St,
London WC2E 8QH