A little bit of the Continent has come to Tooting Bec. The de rigueur trappings of a proper bistro – all-day opening, decent breakfasts as well as lunch and dinner, outdoor tables in good weather – make French Café a welcome addition to this leafy neighbourhood. It’s a popular spot for locals to sit and read the papers while idling over a coffee and croissants, or more substantial brunch dishes (weekends only) such as croque monsieur or eggs benedict.
In the evening, the kitchen switches gear and serves up easy-going French classics such as steak frites, or rabbit cooked with mustard, and there are rillettes and pâtés galore. We’ve found that it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the slow-cooked dishes, such as beef bourguignon, rich with red wine and lardons, or crisp-skinned confit of duck with puy lentils. Wines too are mostly French and well-priced. The prix-fixe menu can be good value, but choose carefully: poor-quality baguettes and a reliance on what appears to be bagged lettuce leaves in several dishes can let the side down. Those grumbles aside, this is a notable neighbourhood restaurant with a friendly vibe.
David is passionate about food. He offers delicious, reasonably-priced food in feel-good surroundings for the locals of Tooting and Balham to enjoy. His aim is for it to be recognised as one of the best-value restaurants in London.
The French Café is tucked away down a tree-lined side road on the Heaver Estate. The south-facing sun terrace is packed in the summer with alfresco diners. The weekend brunch offering has a reputation throughout London, serving classics such as eggs benedict and royale, and a full English.
The menu is authentic French bistro fare, prepared using local, top quality ingredients. The robust French flavours and classic dishes are what David loves to create, 'I am not looking for Michelin stars - just very happy customers who keep returning'. The French Café thrives due to its consistently high standards of food and friendly attentive service.
The French Café opened in 2009 and has built a strong reputation, which has led to it being voted best local restaurant in Tooting and receiving the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence three years running.