Last weekend Ms B & I enjoyed a late brunch at the newly-opened Chez Antoinette in Victoria. Their mothership in Covent Garden, opened 5 years ago, ranks roughly 200 out of 20,000 London restaurants on Tripadvisor, with a Certificate of Excellence thrown in on top, and their new restaurant is ranking even higher. We never rely mainly on Tripadvisor, but it is the most popular platform and it gave some assurance that nearly all other reviews we found were also excellent.
Co-owner Aurelia Noel-Delclos had lived in the Big Smoke for half a decade when she says she got homesick and decided to re-create her happy Lyon childhood home in her new home town. All dishes served are based on her grandmother Antoinette’s recipes or at the very least inspired by her cooking. Together with her husband Jean-Baptiste ‘JB’ Noel she now runs both restaurants and we were lucky to get a chance to speak with both him and her during our visit.
Different from the flagship, which is based on cheap and cheerful tartines, sandwiches, salads and dishes of the simple but delicious cuisine of Lyon, the new outlet is a tad more upmarket and draws its inspiration more from the Paris cafés, even though you still find some Lyonnais dishes on their menu. It is aimed not at flaneurs, West End theatre-goers and the odd tourist, but mainly at the local business community and residents, they are not limited to walk-ins, but do accept reservations.
We decided to go for the baked avocado, poached egg, hollandaise sauce with salmon (£8.50), Eggs Benedict with an extra egg (£9.5 + £2), a Mille Feuille (£5), a flat white (£3.10), a latte with vanilla syrup (£3 + £0.50), and a Bloody Mary (£9), which brought the total bill to £44, including 10% service charge.
We enjoyed the atmosphere and the touch of Paris in the middle of London while we waited for our food. The drinks arrived quickly and we enjoyed all three of them. The cocktail was nothing too extraordinary but nice enough, both coffees could perhaps have been a bit stronger in flavour and firing power, but definitely pretty good for London.
Out of the three dishes we had ordered, Ms B loved her Mille Feuille the best, my favourite was the baked avocado. The eggs were all nicely runny. The bread was very good but could have done with a minute longer in the toaster, from where I was standing.
We’d rate the food 3.25 out of 5, the service, atmosphere, and value for money between 4 and 5, so overall this will be a good 3.75 out of 5 from us. We’ll be back.