Eat this: Folie, coastal dining from France and Italy

This restaurant is trying to bring a bit of the European seaside to Soho, although the fish will be locally sourced.

1 October 2019
bakeryitalianmeatrestaurantsrestaurant openingseafood
  • The Gist: Bringing a taste of the Riviera to the Thames
  • The Chef: Christophe Marleix
  • Location: 37 Golden Square, London W1F 9LB
  • Food in 5 words: Limelight on fish and meat
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How did we get here?

He’s the Frenchman at the front-of-house who has worked in the industry since he was 19. Guillaume Depoix has done stints at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Plaza Athénée in Paris and Café Marly, before moving to London in 2014.

Since then he has worked for industry stalwarts, including Juan Santa Cruz and Sir Terence Conran. While working at Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athénée,he met chef Christophe Marleix, who worked with Ducasse for a decade on both sides of the channel, after which he relaunched Annabel’s in Mayfair in 2017.

Now, Depoix has branched out into his own venture: Soho all day-dining establishment Folie, set to open in November with Marleix as the executive head chef.

The name Folie refers back to the practice of architects who would design garden annexes outside of Paris in the 18th and 19th century just for revelry, decadence and fun, although the restaurant’s interiors will reflect the “sensuality and glamour” of the 1960s and 70s.

What’s different about it?

European food has been put on the backburner in the UK recently as interest in cuisines from the Middle East and Latin America has peaked.

Depoix hopes to put the focus back on the dining culture of the Riviera, from Marseille to Portofino, through St Tropez and Nice.

The recipes of the coastal coves of the south of France and Italy will be refined and elevated, whether guests are stopping by for a ‘menu du jour’-style working lunch alongside the main menu or settling in for a long, drawn-out dinner, according to Folie.

There are starters such as sea bream crudo with citrus and avocado, followed by mains of Provençal braised beef with confit potatoes or megrim sole with Menton lemon.

Sharing platters will also feature, including a whole confit lamb shoulder and basil baby potatoes. To finish, there will be patisseries, seasonal sorbets and cheese boards.

The menu will source and champion seasonal ingredients from small-scale UK farmers, with fish from day boats in Cornwall and Devon, England’s own Riviera.

“Folie is the result of the collaboration of a passionate, talented team: my old friend Christophe Marleix has captured the éclat of the Riviera; Studio KO have conceived the beautiful design; and the designer Yorgo Tloupas, has helped steer the art direction,” said Depoix. “I hope Folie will be a meeting point for conviviality, elegance and revelry at all times.”

You’ve got to try…

Get some friends together to feast on a whole sea bass, grilled in a charcoal oven served with a ratatouille. Serving up a complete grilled fish continues to make a striking appearance in the capital, as consumers and industry attempt to avoid unnecessary waste while also enjoying the smoky flavours of live-fire cooking – just look at Brat, named for its signature dish of whole turbot.

Sparkie also likes…

The dessert with star quality, Tarte Tropézienne, a brioche that is washed with egg, speckled with pearl sugar and baked, then split like a layer cake and filled with cream.

Go if…

You want to eat like a European but avoid the potential travel chaos that could accompany Brexit.

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