Another day discovering London, another day eating cake! Today, I visited the beautiful Crystal Palace Park in south-east London. Strolling around the park, I was very impressed by the full-scale model dinosaurs, lurking in the river beds and shrubs, if not a little scared.
I worked up quite an appetite walking around the park (and watching the hockey and volley ball games) so I ventured up the town in search of something to eat. And can you guess what I stumbled across? The French House.
I know, very cultural, a French man eating in a French restaurant in London. But the restaurant looked too tempting to resist with its French 60/70s music décor. We call it the Yé-Yé era in France. One glance at the menu and I was sold: all the classic French sweet and savoury dishes of my childhood. It was a trip down memory lane.
I started off with a French onion soup, smothered in melted gruyere cheese and crusty croutons. This was followed by a magnificent cheese board – camembert, blue, raclette – complete with fresh fruit and rustic bread. Choosing my sweet fixture was tricky – pain au chocolat or tarte aux pommes or pain aux raisins.
I settled for a slice of apple tart (tarte aux pommes). And at £3.50, it was a very reasonable slice. Plus it was délicieux! The crust was buttery and crumbly and the apples were sweet and caramelised. It was so comforting; it reminded me of my mother’s tarte aux pommes, though nothing compares to my mother’s version. I am biased, of course!
The restaurant was opened by Audrey O’Neill, a French woman from Alsace. It is her second restaurant in The French House chain, the first opened in East Dulwich 18 months ago. I would recommend this restaurant to any foodie, tourist or native. The food is hearty and homemade, the décor is retro and funky, and the service is friendly and attentive. A definite ‘oui oui’ from me!
Bakery: The French House
Address: 72 Westow Hill, London SE19 1SB