French Restaurants in Westminster
1. 104 Restaurant British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 104a Chepstow Road - W2
(see note) “So glad to have 104 back on the map”, say fans of this tiny 14-seater on the fringe of Notting Hill – formerly Marianne’s (RIP) and now re-launched without fanfare by chef Richard Wilkins and front-of-house Matt Hough: the former of whom had worked here with Marianne Lumb before she moved onto pastures new. Early feedback (in 2019) on this “very pretty room” (“romantic”, but “be prepared to overhear everyone else’s conversation”) did include the odd caveat (“excellent quality overall, but some dishes seemed overly simple; and some of the accompanying sauces had gone wrong”). For the most part, however, the picture was of rave reviews for “stunning and very high quality dishes at a reasonable price for such great produce”. (Note - The quotes in this piece are from our last survey which ran in 2019. Due to the pandemic we do not have more recent information to rely on, but we believe the overall picture painted by the review is accurate).
2. Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte French restaurant in Westminster 50 Dean St - W1D
“Bish, bash, bosh… great steak!” – “amazing result!”. “You know what you’re going to get”, and “what you’re given is very good” at this Gallic steakhouse chain which “does what it says on the tin” – a “no-decision” menu of steak-frites, served with the chain’s trademark ‘secret sauce’, plus seconds if you’re still hungry (followed by a variety of puddings). “They’re busy, so be prepared to queue, and to vacate your table as soon as you’ve finished.”
3. Cafe Forty One Vegetarian restaurant in Westminster 45-51 Inverness Terrace - W2
Located in the boutique hotel La Suite West is an entirely new phenomenon - a vegan French cafe. From brunch to afternoon tea, everything is presented with style, but no animal products.
4. Mariage Frères French restaurant in Westminster 38 King Street - WC2E
Legendary in Paris for over 100 years, Mariage Frères has finally crossed the Channel properly (the tea is available in Selfridges as a concession) to delight us with its tea-based cuisine. Everything served, from breakfast to dinner (and especially afternoon tea) has tea in it - and they have over 1000 varieties and flavours to choose from. The five storey Georgian building in Covent Garden houses a shop, first-floor 'Salon de Thé', tea museum and two floors of private rooms with terraces.
5. Folie French restaurant in Westminster 37 Golden Square - W1F
Frenchman Guillaume Depoix has taken over a corner site in Golden Square (previously a PizzaExpress), with a view to opening ‘the perfect Soho brasserie’ in November 2019 (a brave post-Brexit move, we think). He has extensive front-of-house experience, with four years in London under his belt, plus Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athénée.
6. Little Social British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 5 Pollen Street - W1S
The mid-2019 relaunch of Little Social (RIP) over the road from the Pollen Street mothership sees it re-invented but still under the aegis of the Jason Atherton empire; this Mayfair 60-seater now sports a softer, more classically luxurious style than its siblings. It’s to be a new showcase for chef Kostas Papathanasiou – whose CV incorporates The Fat Duck and The Ledbury – with a focus on seasonal, British cuisine. Top Tip – the prix fixe menu is a good deal for the area: £19.50 for 2 courses or £24.50 for 3 courses.
7. Les Platanes French restaurant in Westminster 26-28 Bruton Place - W1J
In a Mayfair townhouse that was formerly the short-lived Babel House (RIP), this ‘contemporary bistro de luxe’ features a southern French menu from chef Thierry Laborde, and opened in mid-2019, too late for any survey feedback. In his early review, The Evening Standard’s David Sexton focused on its handsome design, variably realised and expensive cuisine, impressive wine list and bargain set lunch (£25 with wine).
8. Moncks of Dover Street French restaurant in Westminster 33 Dover Street - W1S
An all-day brasserie-concept from luxury Mayfair restaurant Park Chinois: the 92-cover venue launched in July 2019, with chef Gennaro Vitto, who was previously a pastry chef at Park Chinois, at the stoves.
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