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Restaurants, French Kentish Town
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A classic French bistro and wine bar in Kentish Town.

Bonjour, Kentish Town. Ça va? Sorry, I’m just practising my French because NW5 now has a sizeable French population – drawn principally by the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres (opened 2011) and the proximity of Eurostar (ten minutes away by tube).

What it didn’t have was a 100 percent French restaurant. But that’s now changed, with the arrival of Patron at the bottom of Fortess Road. This small, cosy place, the creation of the couple who formerly ran Café Gourmand in Soho, has a properly Parisian feel. The tables are a bit small, and they’re closely spaced – but even that feels as Parisian as a stroll across the Pont des Arts. 

The food, at its best, is wonderful: proper onion soup made less artery-furring by a tasteful application of toast and cheese rather than the tectonic plates of cholesterol found in some Parisian renditions; snails served with enough garlic butter to frighten off Dracula and all his brides; coarse, flavoursome steak tartare freshly cut by hand and expertly garnished. 

A downside is that there are just four main courses (and no current plan to expand). Mussels, duck confit and onglet (skirt steak) have featured on the menu from opening day, while a grilled meat dish changes from time to time. The solution may be to construct a meal from small plates and charcuterie or cheese. 

There are a few cocktails (ours was unexceptional) and a cheeringly inexpensive wine list (good drinking around £20 a bottle). Service is largely efficient if not exactly warm – authentically Parisian. 

Patron describes itself as a cave à manger, which in Paris means a wine merchant that also serves food. If there was any wine on sale for consumption off the premises, I didn’t see it. But this is a matter of nomenclature, not quality. Of the latter, Patron has beaucoup. And large crowds suggest that le tout Kentish Town already knows it.

By: Richard Ehrlich



Address: 26 Fortess Rd
Transport: Tube: Kentish Town.
Price: Meal for two with service around £70.
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 5-10pm; Sat 10am-3pm, 5-11pm; Sun 10am-3pm, 5-10pm.
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