Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday at Frenchie

My wife gave me a strange look when we (with our nephew) walked into Frenchie at Covent Garden on a Sunday afternoon with absolutely no one inside. I have been raving about my solo dinner at the Frenchie Wine Bar, one of its sister restaurants in Paris, a few years back, so it seems odd that the place was empty when every restaurant on the block was filling with weekend brunch crowd in the busy neighborhood of Covent Garden.

But thankfully, the meal turned out to be every bit I expected (and the place was later packed with people front and back and even at the bar counter by the time we were leaving) I love the simple, laidback décor of the restaurant, right in the center of Covent Garden, with a long dining area with a bar on the side, plus kitchen and more tables in the basement.

There’s a 2 or 3 course set menu available for weekend lunch, which seem to offer great value for money, and also a long a la carte menu with typical French bistro-style dishes. Seeing the seasonal baked Mont d’Or at the bottom of the menu, I decided to go for a few nibble snacks, a main course, and hoping to share the Mont d’Or as our final dish.

Turned out I probably could have skipped the main also and just keep on nibbling on the nibbles as both were mind-blowingly good. The pig’s head croquette came in the size of a Chicken McNuggets, with the fatty and creamy filling, crispy battered crust and a dab of gribiche sauce on top. Wish they came with size of 6 or 9 in a box. The bacon scone was even better – the waiter seems puzzled when we only ordered two to share among the three of us, and we immediately knew why after just one bite. It’s this perfect combination of savory sweet flavor, with the hint of smoky bacon and the finger-sticking maple syrup glazed top being the best part, plus the rich clotted cream served on the side! That should have been my main and only course – with half a dozen of them for here and half a dozen to go.

Well, I did order my main course, which was actually listed as a starter on the menu. And what’s described as tagliatelle was not exactly a pasta dish, but instead it’s salsify cut into ribbon shape and pretend to be pasta. Tossed in was a rich vin jaune and cheddar sauce, crispy salsify trimmings, a slightly cured egg yolks and shaved winter black truffles on top. Portion was probably a bit small for sharing as appetizer, but well suited as a light main course like what I ate it as. Love the texture of the “tagliatelle” with so many different flavors going on in each bite, and the aromatic black truffles with a hint of earthy taste just bind everything well together.

Took a while for the baked Vacherin Mont d’Or to appear (we have been warned it took 20 minutes), but when it arrived, I felt it’s the whole new meal again. Baked in its own tub with nothing but a dash of vin jaune at the end, and served with overfilling black truffle slices and chunks of charred toast. This is like a Swiss cheese fondue or a Chinese hotpot. It’s my first tub of this famous cheese which only available during winter season this year and definitely won’t be my last.

Felt like something sweet to end the meal so we ended up sharing a small pear tart with strawberry icecream on top. Going along the theme of French bistro meal we went for a bottle of French apple cider. Tangy and refreshing. Everything was nice, but my favorite gotta be that memorable bacon scone. OMG.
When? December 1 2019
Where? Frenchie, 16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH, UK
Menu Highlights? Bacon Scone, Maple Syrup and Cornish Clotted Cream
Drinks? Wignac Le Lievre Apple Cider NV

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