But which of the Gallic-inspired gastronomers will reign suprême?
Sacre bleu. You spend ages waiting for a French restaurant and then trois come along at once. Earlier this month we told you about Brasserie Loup, the new French-inspired restaurant which has opened above Wolf & Waffle on Berry Street.
The announcement of yet another French bistro was more than just déjà-vu
No sooner had we wiped the creme brulee from our lips than another French bistro sailed into town, this time in Allerton.
“The stylish 30-seater cafe bar and bistro nestled right in the middle of the leafy suburbs of Allerton Road transports you to the heart of one of the most romantic city’s in the world with a selection of food and wines to tempt the most discerning palettes [sic],” reads the blurb for Pierre Griffes.
“You won’t leave hungry!” is the tagline. Croque monsieur? Oui. Coq au vin? Bien sûr. Croissants? Yep. The menu at Pierre Griffes ticks all of those boxes.
The promise of garlic and parsley sauce was intoxicating. When we managed to gather our senses, the announcement on Twitter of yet another French bistro was more than just déjà-vu.
“Classic French bistro coming in early July on Castle St, fine wines, cocktails, oysters, steak and so much more!” tweeted Bacaro as they announced the imminent arrival of Bouchon, the new baby from the Red & Blue Restaurant Group.
Some news from us, like many we spent lockdown with time on our hands & little to do & 9 months later.......@bouchondeluxe is born!! Classic French bistro coming in early July on castle st, fine wines, cocktails, oysters, steak and so much more! Follow them for updates pic.twitter.com/A27Y4Umf8m
— bacaro (@Salthousebacaro) May 19, 2021
Jules et Pierre
What in the name of Jean-Christophe Novelli has inspired this French revolution up North?
For Jonathon Poole, co-owner of the Red & Blue Restaurant Group with Paddy Smith, it’s a journey that has come full circle after setting up Chez Jules Chester in 1997, which he refers to as “the original Bouchon.”
“I guess I’m best known in trade circles for the Ego brand which was born out of Chez Jules. 12 restaurants later and it’s back to my roots,” Jonathon says.
Poole was also one of the consortium members who bought out the Pierre Victoire chain back in the late 1990s.
Know your onions
“That period of my business life was just a whirlwind. I learned a huge amount about the industry having joint established the Ego business in 1999, eventually sold to the management team behind La Tasca," he said.
“Critically, I met Paddy Smith in the same year as establishing Ego and genuinely ever since, we’ve been a very solid foundation together as business partners.
“Bouchon is our latest creation and we’re both very proud of the concept and quietly confident that our existing customers across Bacaro, Salt House Tapas and Hanover Street Social will become fans too.”
Rocket & Ruby reborn
Paddy Smith says Bouchon will be a French bistro in its truest form, serving comfort food, open continuously morning to night at moderate prices, housing an active bar where people gather for food, drink and lively conversation.
“It’s an exciting time for the company after a lousy 14 months of inactivity for us and all of our colleagues in the industry,” Smith said.
“We’re so pleased to be back and for myself and Jonny, Bouchon is a culmination of all the good things we’ve learned about hospitality over three decades with our roots steeped in French cuisine.”
Bouchon will open in the former Rocket & Ruby on Castle Street. Menu highlights include oysters, classic French onion soup, charcuterie boards, rotisserie chicken, and sole meunière, as well as tarte tatin and chocolate fondant.
The big question is, who will be crème de la crème in the battle of the bistros? Will any of them be as good as Caveau in Woolton or the long-lost L'allouette in Lark Lane? And if you can't speak French, is it okay to let the funky music do the talking?
Well, lucky reader, our team of restaurant reviewers will be back in the saddle from June, to find those very answers for you. Our writers arrive unannounced, pay for their food, and give their own opinion of their experience.
La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin. À demain.
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