Ahhh, bistro! The ultimate in Frenchie cuisine... From Jamie Oliver's old Friend "Frenchie"


The entrance to Frenchie is as discreet as a courtesan’s maid. So discreet, in fact, that I wander past at least twice, cursing like a Parisian plongeur, dodging pneumatic drills and plastic bollards, hi-vis jackets and gormless tourists. Covent Garden may no longer be the edible cursed earth that it once was, but those indecisively meandering sightseers remain stubbornly the same.

French food is back - and it's better than ever


French food used to be considered the best of the best. From perfectly-risen souffles to rich coq au vins, it was seen by the rest of the world as the height of glamour and gastronomy. As the no-nonsense Clarissa Dickson-Wright once wrote dryly: "In the 20th century, the French managed to get a death on the myth they produce the world's best food. The hype has been carefully orchestrated."

But then things changed. For one thing, there has been a revolution in British food. Jacques Chirac might have once sniffed that “You can’t trust people whose cuisine is so bad," but London's restaurant's scene is now arguably far more vibrant than Paris's. Chefs such as Lyle’s James Lowe, Pidgin’s Elizabeth Allen and Pam Brunton of Inver spurn fussy Frenchified fare in order to celebrate the foods and cooking techniques native to these shores. They  are more masters of "Britonomy" than "bistronomie".

Test Driving Frenchie - parisian bistronomy comes to covent garden


What can you tell us about Frenchie?
The restaurant has gone the roundabout way to setting up in London. Its chef Greg Marchand was originally trained in the UK and got his "Frenchie" moniker from Jamie Oliver himself. That stuck and was what he used to christen his first restaurant in Paris.The Paris Frenchie has built up a healthy reputation over the years and has grown - adding a wine bar next door as well as a cafe.Now they've taken their restaurant to the UK - following some more recent high-profile and upmarket French restaurants - setting up in Covent Garden.

La prise de covent garden


Pein de surprises, c’est à Covent Garden où on ne l’attendait pas que le chef star Greg Marchand (déjà derrière la ribambelle Frenchie qui a colonisé la rue du Nil et le cœur des Parisiens) a décidé d’ouvrir sa première adresse outre-manche avec sa femme Marie.C’est en travaillant chez Fifteen aux côtés de Jamie Oliver (qu’on ne présente plus), qu’il a écopé de ce surnom de Frenchie devenu marque de fabrique.

Dans le décor de néo-brasserie très Mad Men, on sirote un cocktail de haut vol au bar les doigts dans un scone au bacon avant de descendre, les yeux dans les fourneaux en pleine ébullition, savourer une cuisine contemporaine ultra précise au casting de producteurs britanniques impeccable. Le menu est changeant, mais si vous attrapez au vol les parpadelle d’agneau d’Elwy Valley aux olives de Kalamata et piment d’Espelette ou les carottes rôties à l’huile de vadouvan, purée de dates medjoul et orge au vol, foncez !

Fay Maschler reviews Frenchie: The golden Gallic touch


Frenchie is the nickname Jamie Oliver gave to chef Grégory Marchand when Grégory headed the kitchen of Fifteen in Shoreditch. In 2009 he used it as the name for his own Paris restaurant and wine bar, then also a traiteur and wine shop, in Rue du Nil. In London it is spelled out clearly in black-and-white mosaic tiles on the doorstep of the otherwise slightly shy and retiring entrance to Frenchie in Covent Garden. It is, maybe, the Frenchiest thing about the enterprise.

Paris restaurant Frenchie comes to London, setting up in Covent Garden


We've already had Taillevent and the less successful Le Chabanais hit London this year - now there's a new Paris restaurant that's looking to settle our side of the Channel.Frenchie was opened in 2009 in Paris by Greg and Marie Marchand - originally as a small restaurant before opening a wine bar and sandwich counter across the street. Greg himself has had plenty of experience in London, working at Mandarin Oriental, the Savoy Grill, Fifteen (where he got the nickname Frenchie) and he's also had experience in Gramercy Tavern in New York.

A Covent Garden outpost for the Paris restaurant...


All right, Frenchie?’ That’s how Jamie Oliver used to greet his Nantes-born head chef Gregory Marchand when they shared the kitchens at Fifteen. Chefs do love a bit of banter. Fast-forward to 2009. Marchand – who started cooking aged 16 and has worked everywhere from the Savoy to New York’s Gramercy Tavern – was about to launch his first solo spot and needed a name. And so, on April Fool’s Day of all days, Frenchie was born: a tiny restaurant, down a cobbled Parisian alley, where you can’t get a table for six months.

New opening: Frenchie copy


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