Grégory Marchand, Best Chef 2010
Greg Marchand did something of a Brexit in reverse by leaving Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London to open up Frenchie on 5 rue du Nil. That was in 2009, and le petit français has made some major strides since: Frenchie bar à vins, Frenchie To Go, respectively at numbers 5 and 9 of the same street, and… Frenchie Covent Garden for the boomerang effect! The day we went, we grabbed a seat at the “historic” bar and in his absence, watched Claire Dellinger put the final touches on the lunch menu (€45): a whelk shell on a bed of sea salt, with the mollusk surrounded by a dill paste and oxalis leaves for the amuse bouche; a mix of textures and flavors with the roasted carrot, raw apricots and apricot purée, dried beetroot crumble with verbena-lemon oil and pickled mustard seeds; pork loin with creamy polenta, roasted corn, corn chips and pop corn, marinated tomatoes, shallots and dried lime; and, after a course of perfectly aged cheddar and stilton cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy, there was a chocolate cream with malt ice cream and a coffee meringue. The wines are hand selected: Saumur blanc Domaine des Roches Neuves (€9 a glass) and Crozes rouge from Laurent Habrard (€35 a bottle). Menu €45 (lunch) and €74 (lunch and dinner, €125 with food and wine pairings). // D.C.