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Flying Frenchman

  • Restaurants
  • Newington Green
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Flying Frenchman
Photo: Flying Frenchman

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Flying Frenchman doesn’t resemble any of the restaurants and cafés perched on the edges of Newington Green, like screw-faced supermodels lounging around a rooftop swimming pool. Flying Frenchman has secured a place by the pool, but how come it looks so much happier than everyone else?

I’ll tell you why Flying Frenchman is happy. This idiosyncratic, corner-site bistro isn’t concerned about superficial stuff, social media clout or whether its starters are sufficiently on-trend. This is a lively, lovely communal dining room for locals. And the man whose house it is, slaving away in the kitchen, greeting people at the door, dispensing hard-won Gallic wisdom, sending you away satisfied and tipsy, is owner and head chef Guillaume Desmurs.

Reviewing this place without talking about Desmurs would be like trying to explain Buckingham Palace without mentioning the Queen. Much like her Royal Highness, Desmurs has been doing his job for a while. Unlike the Queen (as far as I know), he is passionate about sausage meat. Flying Frenchman’s homely, informal setting is an extension of his personality, as is the menu, which revolves around old-school but deftly assembled French classics.

The sausage cassoulet is significant, rustic and rich – like a farm-dwelling Kardashian

Things Desmurs may bring you: a soulful and cheesy french onion soup (croutons as big as rocks, mate); anecdotes about living and cooking all over the world; wine; rare-breed pork belly (butter-soft and smoked in-house to perfection); opinions about industrial food (it’s shit); merguez shepherd’s pie (the chunky-spicy, Anglo-Maghrebi mash-up you didn’t know you needed); more wine; sausage cassoulet (significant, rustic and rich, like a farm-dwelling Kardashian); crème brûlée (we stan a perfectly caramelised king); wine. Lots of wine.

It sounds pretentious, but it’s impossible to visit Flying Frenchman and not ponder what we even mean by ‘restaurant’ these days. No disrespect to anywhere with ceramic-tile plates, influencer-bait desserts, eye-wateringly expensive organic wine that tastes like cider or ancient grains, but sometimes you just want to go somewhere friendly, drink wine and get fed god-tier sausages.

This is rewarding, substantial grub. Go for a massive walk first. A punishing trek, in the pouring rain, if possible. Desmurs, a tea towel over one shoulder, will be there at the end to ferry you into his gratifyingly wonky paradise.

The vibe A lively, lovely place run by London’s most hospitable sausage-maker. 

The food Expertly cooked comfort food, all sourced from small (and antibiotic-free) farms. In a word: nourishing.

The drink Obviously, wine. If you (like me) don’t know where to start, Desmurs will gladly and accurately recommend something up your boozy alley. 

Time Out tip Get a table by the window and watch as dusk falls over that revolting statue on Newington Green.

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Joe Mackertich


11 Albion Rd
N16 9PS
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