The French House

• British• Soho

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About the restaurant

Some restaurants hark back to a bygone era of London dining, and The French House in Soho is definitely one of them. The venue was officially reopened under its current name after a fire in 1984. Decades before, it was called York Minster and nicknamed “the French house” by regulars, and it’s been a favourite haunt among the entertainment industry. These days it still feels like an old-school destination, and even has a ‘no mobile phones’ rule and is an ideal haven for a long lunch.

It was husband and wife Fergus and Margot Henderson – now known as the faces behind St. John and Rochelle Canteen respectively – who turned the pub into a serious food destination in the early 1990s. Many a name chef has graced its kitchen since then, but running things currently is Neil Borthwick. He worked under Phil Howard and then Angela Hartnett, to whom he’s now married and won universal acclaim for the menu.

A strong wine list complements a fantastic menu of Borthwick’s Franco-British bistro food. Starters like confit garlic on toast, Welsh rarebit and simple soups go alongside mains like braised ox cheek – all are big on flavour and served simply and with the kind confidence that has made this a must-visit destination, even disregarding the history.

Reviews from the Web

Critic reviews

The Infatuation

Bits and bobs have changed about this pub since 1891, not least its name, but much of the experience here is steeped in tradition, from its serving of half-pints, to its no screens rule, to the rib-eye and Paris-Brest served upstairs

The Guardian

A reopened Soho institution that lends itself to old-school, but discreet debauchery


Neil’s short menu, handwritten with brio, changes in part each service and is embellished with what seem like last-minute ideas or maybe private passions, such as pappardelle with beef cheek and croquettes of calves’ brains.

The Telegraph

The room is terrific; the food on offer there nods to tradition but is robustly self-assured;

The Nudge

The starters range from Carlingford oysters, to salt cod beignets, to an entire head of confit garlic with goats curd on toast.