Restaurants, French Primrose Hill
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There’s no piped music at L’Absinthe, but no need, as jaunty Gallic accordion tunes may start floating round your head anyway. In a placid part of Primrose Hill, it reproduces the feel of a classic French corner bistro as unerringly as a scene from Amélie: from the signs on windows to the snug tables and unfussily retro decor. Service is smiley and full of charm, and the cosily welcoming ambience draws in tablefuls of appreciative regulars.

Menus feature suitably classic French comfort food – salade niçoise, fish soup, hachis parmentier, steaks, croque monsieur for lunch – in generous portions at generous prices. Dishes are reliably appealing, if sometimes over-rich. Pea soup and a lyonnaise salad with plenty of bacon lardons hit all the right notes as starters, and supreme of chicken with creamy tarragon sauce was very pleasant. So too was a properly traditional – if slightly heavy – duck confit with powerfully rich thyme jus. Desserts included a very smooth and large crème brûlée.

Lunch menus are especially good value, and the attached wine shop provides an excellent list including a house red – Petit Mas – that’s a robust snip at under £17.



Venue name: L'Absinthe
Address: 40 Chalcot Road
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm Mon-Fri; noon-4pm Sat, Sun. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat; 6-9.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Chalk Farm
Price: Main courses £9.95-£18
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The perfect neighbourhood bistro serving delicious, well priced food and wine all day. And of course the welcoming host, JC....❤


Lovely little bistro in a quiet location of Primrose Hill. Working locally, I've always grabbed a take away breakfast or lunch, and never eaten inside, but it seems nice enough. They've got a great value breakfast menu of a bacon or egg baguette with tea/coffee/Coke for £3. Absolute bargain for the location. The food is always fresh and you can take away the lunch items for a little picnic in Primrose Hill park, which is less than 5 minutes walk away!

Good food and great service for reasonable prices. Also take away food (for Primrose Hill's picnics !). I recommend.

Horrible customer service! Rude staff! bad food quality!

Rather go to pub on opposite side for a much better ambience and tasty food

Eaten here 3 times in the last two years. Menu is simple and seemingly never varies. Cooking is bland and you could o much better for the money, the pub opposite for a start.

I absolutely love this place! Entertaining service, friendly atmosphere, wonderful French bistro style food, unpretentious and full of flavour! I am slightly worried that with an increased size the standards may drop, I really hope JC and the team can keep the standards as high as they have been for the past few years! A wonderful neighbourhood restaurant that knows what it does and does it almost faultlessly.

The Frenchest of French restaurants I have been to outside France. The food tasted home cooked and authentic, the service was genuine and friendly and the ambience cozy and unpretentious. Already booked my second visit in a space of 10 days.

I don't understand all the reviews i have seen about this restaurant. Have you ever try a real french restaurant , Please ! It's not good. It's simple. I can do it at home. The staff is wearing trainers, nothing smart. The jug of water was dirty ! I use to go in another french restaurant not too far and i wanted to try this one because of the reviews it has but i'm disappointed :(- I'll never come back and go back to my favourite in NW3 2QY !!!

'Everything expensive, nothing good' . At least they are honest. I have ordered french onion soup which managed to taste completely bland. The steak was fatty and I managed to pick out about 1/3 that was edible. Fries soggy..... It is by far the worst meal I had - and the first review I have ever written. The owner tries to cover up bad food with charm, not impressed!