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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  1. Josephine
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  4. Josephine
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  6. Josephine

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A cinematic French bistro by Claude Bosi, serving hearty Lyonnaise cuisine in west London

Sometimes, almost everything about a restaurant works. Josephine is that restaurant – so pitch perfect and so on brand that it could be a movie set – preferably one with Catherine Deneuve flitting about while sweetly sloshing vino. Josephine is pretty and cute, but maintains an edge of robust Gallic urgency; all is in its right place, from the starched white tablecloths to the burgundy leather banquettes, elegant taper candles and walls plastered with far too many Toulouse Lautrec-esque prints. If Disneyland were to craft a ‘wine-sodden French bistro’ this would be the blueprint. If we could change anything? We’d simply get it the hell out of Fulham.

We’re only a few months into 2024, but Josephine’s owner and founder Claude Bosi is already having quite the year. Brooklands, the storied chef’s very pricey and peculiarly Concorde-themed restaurant at the equally pricey Peninsula hotel – was just awarded two Michelin stars, despite only opening at the end of 2023. Josephine then, is his second new restaurant in six months, and you’ll find it 15-minutes walk away from Bibendum, his other two-star Michelin restaurant. There’s also the lavish Socca which he opened a year ago in Mayfair. When, we ask, does the man sit down?

Flavours are as full-bodied as a ruddy-faced Serge Gainsbourg after a Syrah binge

In comparison to the others, Bossi’s latest opening is low key. It’s a small – perhaps too small, going by the way I have to shift our tightly packed two-top table and almost wipe out our neighbours wine glasses with my arse in the process – bistro named after his late grandmother. But despite its outwardly modest nature, the food is anything but understated. Flavours are as full-bodied as a ruddy-faced Serge Gainsbourg after a Syrah binge, and it self-identifies as a ‘bouchon’ – the name given to French restaurants that serve hearty Lyonnaise cuisine – as well as as that inscrutable thing, a ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant. 

‘Double beef,’ nods our waiter approvingly when I lean into the richness and order steak tartare followed by onglet à l’échalote, as we snack on a ramekin of punchy pork crackling and further study the menu, which includes a whole section dedicated to potatoes, which are served five distinct ways. The first dish to arrive was a powder puff of cheese soufflé, shimmering with a buttery halo. To rage against any possible lightness to the meal, my tartare came with a fried slice of toast, and the following onglet steak’s rich shallot sauce had a flavour as deep as Jean-Paul Sartre and was wiped up in its entirety by majestic frites. You can, if you wish, order frogs’ legs in garlic butter. 

If you’re after something a little lighter – but only a little – they are able to provide. The Sole Grenobloise was fabulously flakey, and creamy with brown butter and caper sauce, served alongside pommes duchesse, essentially a very sophisticated take on tater tots, but with the texture of a McCain’s Smiles. This all being a very good thing.

Desserts are bold and – in one particular case – highly boozy. A shared rum baba with vanilla Chantilly cream to finish threatened to tip us over the edge. Quite evidently drowning in rum, it was enough to burn off any trace of nasal hair, and, if wine served by the inch wasn’t enough to get your roaring drunk, this would do it. 

The vibe A perfect little French bistro. In Fulham. 

The food Punchy Lyonnaise flavours; rabbit, frogs, souffles, steak and potatoes five ways.

The drink French wine, of course. It’s served in the traditional way ‘by the metre’, so you only pay for what you’ve drunk from the bottle.

Time Out tip Ask for a seat in the roomier room at the back, otherwise it’s a bit of a squeeze. 

Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper


315 Fulham Rd
SW10 9QH
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