Patron, Kentish Town
Building on the success of their petit bistro in Soho, this Parisian restaurant – with its intimate round tables and leather booths – pushes you closer together, with a low hum of music keeping a sexy vibe throughout. With the extensive range of spirits and a simple menu, showcasing their 5 main courses on a wooden board hung in the centre of the restaurant, the best advice is to take their lead with the dishes. Everything is sourced from independent French suppliers and their menu makes it impossible to choose the wrong thing.
If you have never tried frogs legs or snails before, then this would be the perfect time, cooked in true Parisian style, a simple garlic and butter sauce. If you’re not quite there yet, then I would advise the steak tartare, served with a quail egg and croutons and the chicken liver masala which, frankly, melts in your mouth.
For mains, have their top pick, the duck confit, with a side of your choice and then moules mariniere, with the finest truffle frites one can imagine. Reminded by the manager that “the French love bread”, the many baskets of the stuff were a great way to slurp up the remainder of the garlic and wine sauce left behind from the moules.
Finish with a sharing board of 4 cheeses, accompanied with a dessert wine – ‘Chateau le Pradet’ – then followed by a simple chocolate brownie. At first thought the tiramisu, being my favourite dessert, seemed like the best choice. However, upon being told it was more of a cocktail we decided that a first date sharing cocktail was maybe getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Meet at the table. It’s small enough not to feel a fool whilst you wait. Plus the low lighting makes everyone look fabulous. Share a carafe of wine, enough for 4 glasses, so just enough to take you through the meal without regretting it the next day.
There’s one seat in the house facing the window directly looking onto a car forecourt. You may only see the top of the buildings, thanks to the perfect little curtains at the base of the front windows, but it’s just enough to remind you that you’re not quite in the Parisian town you hoped. Instead, you have work tomorrow morning.