Maison François, St James' Park



Maison François, nestled in between St James Park and Piccadilly, is a beautiful French all-day brasserie headed up by Matthew Ryle. Given they opened in the midst of a global pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the hospitality industry, I’d say it was an incredibly bold move - and one that’s paid off. 

We dined on the night that the second lockdown was announced - and given the news, you’d expect the staff to be a little gloomy as once again they’re plunged into the unknown, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We arrived and greeted by the friendliest front of house, and we’d arrived purposely early to head downstairs for some cocktails at Franks. 

Franks set the tone for the rest of the evening and is well worth visiting ahead of your meal; it’s a beautiful, modern chilled out space with fantastic cocktails where you can easily spent a few hours. 

Time and time again, cocktails are served too sweet - but not here. Simone, who was on hand to suggest only the best cocktails, is a genius - we tried several, which were all fabulous, but the vodka orange is a fantastic take on a common cocktail. And if you’d like something that packs a bit more of a punch, then opt for the Frank’s Cup Lorrain. 

Once we headed upstairs, to the charming restaurant were seated moments from the kitchen. The waitress - much like everyone else there - was friendly and incredibly informative when it came to choosing from the menu. 

We ordered purely off recommendation, opting to start with:

  • Radishes, cervelle de canut (£5)

  • Ox tongue brochette, sauce gribiche (£6.50)

  • Fennel à la grecque, crème fraîche, dijon, dill, pistachio (£7)

Each small plate was delicious, combining incredible flavours and maintaining that beautiful French cooking I adore, oozing flavour and I savoured every bite. The fennel was my standout though - truly mastering taking something simple and creating something beautiful.

For our mains, we decided to go for something different. Time and time again, I opt for whatever cut of beef they have on the menu but when we saw the côte de porc, sauce moutarde (£33) we couldn’t resist ordering, and of course paired with pommes anna with truffle (£5). It was incredible - it’s often I forget how pork can be such an incredible dish if done well, and this was certainly done well with ladles of sauce moutarde all over. And the pommes Seemingly at Maison François, they do not skip on the truffle flavour with it coming through incredibly well. 

Paired with this, the sommelier recommended the Domaine le Roc des Anges, 'Segna de Cor' 2018 at c.£60 - which was light, fresh with silky tannins. I could not recommend this wine more - it was beautiful. 

Despite being rather content with the fantastic food we’d had, we couldn’t avoid the brilliant dessert trolley which had everything your sweet tooth could desire, with incredible fresh pastry courtesy of Head Pastry Chef, Jérémy Prakhin. We opted for an apple tarte tatin and hazelnut choux pastry. Incredible.

Overall, I cannot recommend this place enough - the food is delicious and flavoursome, the setting perfect and the service impeccable - all wrapped up with VERY reasonable pricing. 

Now lockdown is coming to an end, and London is going into the Tier 2, go and support this incredible restaurant post-lockdown - and I’ll quite possibly see you there again myself!

34 Duke Street, 

St. James’s, 

London SW1Y 6DF

*Thanks to Maison François for the photos.


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