Bringing the rich flavours and enchanting ambience of France direct from Paris, Parisian restaurateurs Greg and Marie Marchand have opened their first restaurant outside the city and made their UK debut with Frenchie in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
The newly opened 200m2 basement and ground floor venue was created in a highly successful project carried out by main contractors PBH Shopfitters Ltd, and designed by Emilie Bonaventure, owner of Studio Be Attitude, Paris.
The name Frenchie comes from the nickname garnered by chef Greg Marchand when working at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London.
Works to create the 70-cover restaurant commenced with an interior which had been completely stripped out prior to the beginning of the contract, providing a ‘blank canvas’ for the new venue.
Gavin Webster of PBH Shopfitters takes up the story: “An existing staircase and flooring was removed to allow for the installation of a new grandeur central staircase, dividing into two flights at the base. A period French marble fireplace is situated on the half landing half way down the staircase and is set against three windows looking to a backdrop of trees outside.”
The basement works included the installation of the customer toilets facilitated by new below ground drainage systems designed to accommodate staff welfare and the installation of a new theatre kitchen. A 700 bottle wine rack display to either side of the central stair flite and the provision of tables and banquette seating provide a more personal dining experience up to 14 diners within the basement area.
A bespoke marble topped cocktail bar with a painted frontage and stainless steel equipment to the back bar has been installed on the ground floor, which also incorporates the main dining area.
Gavin Webster said: “The free standing tables, chairs, waiter stations and banquette seating are bespoke and have been made in France then shipped to London for assembly and installation by PBH, these enhance and add to the restaurants overall mood.
“Decor throughout is in a French Parisian style with rustic elements including exposed brick and painted plaster walls, exposed stanchions and columns, timber/ceramic flooring from France, along with antique lighting, artwork and furniture.”
Further works included complete new electrical installation, including fire alarms and an extract system.
“The decor is very simple but also very effective. Everyone involved with the project have been impressed with how well it has come together to create a comfortable and relaxing ambience. It was a good project to work on with a good team,” said Gavin Webster.
The menu at Covent Garden echoes its Parisian counterpart with simple and generous, yet precise dishes heavily influenced by Greg’s travels from London to New York through Spain and Hong Kong. It also hosts an ever-changing, carefully selected wine list and seasonal cocktails.
The restaurant offers a similar menu to that in Paris. Recent dishes on the menu there include Duck foie gras ‘pressé’, smoked eel, lentils and mustard, ‘Duck from Challans’, leeks, anchovy and shiro dashi green cream’, Brill, duck broth, wild mushrooms and bergamot and ‘Kouign amann’, buckwheat ice cream, caramelised apple and coffee.
The Covent Garden venue uses British sourced ingredients, so this is also reflected in the menu.
Gregory Marchand owns the hugely popular Frenchie, Frenchie Wine Bar, Frenchie To Go and the brand new Wine Shop (all in the Rue du Nil in Paris second arrondissement).
Frenchie was opened in 2009 in Paris by Greg and Marie Marchand – originally as a small restaurant before opening a wine bar and sandwich counter across the street. Greg himself has had plenty of experience in London.
He considers London his second home, after having spent several long periods in the capital cooking notably at the Savoy, Mandarin Oriental and Fifteen.
PBH Shopfitters provide full-service interior refurbishment to companies nationwide. With extensive experience in the retail, leisure and commercial sectors, PBH Shopfitters work closely with project managers, designers and architects to ensure designs are realised to exacting standards and clients’ expectations are met, and exceeded wherever possible.
The company pride themselves on the craftsmanship, skill and service which they provide.