Images courtesy of Jennifer Chee.
Situated in the heart of Covent Garden is Frenchie Covent Garden, an a la carte and tasting set menu restaurant focusing on French flavours and gastronomical preparation, The Michelin-star restaurant is headed by Michelin-star chef Greg Marchand. Interior also hones in on the European ambience, as Art Deco furnishing create a chic yet modern feel. A beautiful bar sprawls across the back wall, where guests can watch the in-house sommelier, Charlie, carefully pouring out their wine pairings. Myself and my guest opted for the set menu with wine pairing. Our journey began upon arrival, where we were kindly seated with a glass of bubbles. The light and crispy sparkling wine was the perfect way to begin our dining experience, as it cleansed the palette for the first course.
Our experience began with nibbles to start, specifically a delicious spread of Parmesan choux pastries, with parmesan, hazelnut cream and lemon zest, and bacon scones with whipped salted butter. We begun with the choux pastries, a deliciously rich yet light bite from the choux to the melted cheese sauce. It was distinctively tart and cheesy, with a light lemon zest, with a slight kick of paprika for some welcome warmth. The choux was perfectly crispy, with a hot melty centre that was sumptuous and unexpected.
The hot bacon scones were equally rich and indulgent, with crispy bacon pieces and a sweet crispy maple coating. Hearty, sweet, dense, exactly the way you want your scone to be. The entire ensemble was a perfect blend of contrasts, crispy and fluffy, sweet and salty, dense and light, and traditionally English and French. The innovative takes on the classic English and French desserts were a perfect way to begin our experimental tasting journey.
Our next dish consisted of Fois Gras Presse, with candied almonds, Gariguette strawberries and pink peppercorn. To pair, we were provided with two sweet crusted fennel pollen brioche loaves. Our sommelier, Charlie, recommended us to eat all elements separately then taste the wine, as he explained how he focuses on the textures and tastes of the dishes to plan his pairings.
The smooth, rich pate perfectly matched the nutty almonds, with a sweetness that was cut with the tart strawberry compote. I have never tried pate before, and this was the perfect plate to, as bite-sized chunks were laid out amongst a colourful display of garnishing.
Paired with the brioche bread, it was an amalgamation of new flavours that was unique and flavourful. The sweet strawberry rose was a well-matched option to enhance the flavour of the compote and hone-in on the richness of the pate.
Up next was the British Pea Tortelli, with marigold, pickled onions and a herbaceous and light green broth. The earthy wine pairing perfectly balanced the grounding marigold tortelli filling, with a creaminess hat added a rich, subtle flavour. This course really set the focus for a continuing combinati0on of flavours across the courses, and the matching wine pairings to really bring out the grounding flavours of each dish. The subtlety of the wine brought out the fresh flavours of the dish itself, with the wild garlic oil adding an immediate clean taste, and look. We were recommended to consume the dish using one bite per piece of tortelli. A literal explosion of textures and flavours entered the mouth, with the tangy and sweet onion, the fresh sweet pea, creamy tortelli filling and an overarching pepper and earthiness that surfaces further through the wine. Bursts of flavour exude from the tortelli upon biting, which is then mirrored in the small British peas, an enhancement of flavour and texture. This course, both wine and dish, were personally one of my favourites.
Next up was the Cornish Pollock, with a lemon gel, spring greens and romanesco. I do not know what I was expecting from the dish, particularly the lemon gel, but it differed from any expectation I had. The zesty lemon gel was surprisingly refreshing, instead of sweet and full of sugar, it was clearly an intentional approach to enhance and add to the simple flavours of the dish.
The fresh spring greens added a delicious freshness that was continued in the simply barbecued pollock, drawing out all of the basic flavours of the fish in a simple yet effective method of preparation.
We were kindly advised to eat the fish alone first, then sip the wine, and repeat but add the chargrilled fish skin to the ensemble, to really understand the wine pairing Charlie out together. The light flavours focalised the barbecue flavour, with the zesty lemon gel tieing together a familiar flavour with a unique twist.
For a palate cleanser before our final dessert course, we were brought a Rhubarb and Prosecco Sorbet with basil oil and a biscuit crumb.
A clean and fresh flavour was matched with a fresh and light sparkling wine to sculpt a perfect refresher. The herbaceous oil was an innovative take on traditional flavours, and provided a balanced savouriness to blend with the sweet iced rhubarb.
To conclude our dining experience, we were served a unique take on the traditional Banoffee, with a dark chocolate biscuit crumb with caramelised pecans, nutmeg sprinkling, banana sorbet and a dulce de leche cream.
This dish was the epitome of luxury, from the rich yet light cream to the sweet banana sorbet to create an ensemble of utter indulgence. Rock sea salt balanced the sweet and rich flavours with a light saltiness that perfectly matched the sweet and tangy dulce de leche. Textures were equally paramount, with the surprising crispiness of the pecans adding a hearty substance to the light smoothness of the cream and silky sorbet.