Maison Francois to open in St James

Maison François, a brasserie and wine bar in the heart of St James, London, has announced it is set to open in spring 2020 and will be headed by former Masterchef star Matthew Ryle.

Founded by François O’Neill, Ryle will also be joined by Ed Wyand who will head up the front of house team, with the restaurant paying homage to the “grand brasseries” of Paris, Lyon and Alsace.

Head chef Ryle, previously of The Dorchester before becoming head chef at Isabel, reached the final of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2018.

Open from early morning to midnight, Maison François will allow guests to watch the chefs at work around the floating pass in the open kitchen and will also feature a dispensary bar, giving the restaurant an “open feel”.

The menu will see “brasserie classics” such as Reblochon gougères and oeufs mimosa with fresh herbs sitting alongside handmade pasta dishes like ravioli dauphine, Comté and black pepper.

Whole fish and cuts of meat will also be cooked over the wood-fired grill, with dishes including John Dory and Amalfi lemon, and boudin noir, wood roasted peppers with Pedro Ximenez.

Downstairs, the restaurant will house a wine bar with a dedicated chef serving slices of terrines and pâté en croûte, plates of charcuterie from a vintage slicer, glasses of wine from magnums and sherry poured directly from the cask.

The interiors of the restaurant are inspired by Ricardo Bofill’s postmodern cement factory, with 20ft-high ceilings hung with Art Deco chandeliers. The walls are softened by mirror-filled arches and sheer, off-white drapery, while the focal point of the dining room is a 1970s-inspired clock in patinated bronze, which sits above the open kitchen.

François said: “Maison will be everything a brasserie should be – welcoming, fun and hospitable, with classic dishes made with the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – whilst also ripping up the rulebook when it comes to service.

“We’ll show great respect for the legendary restaurants we admire, whilst marrying this heritage with our love for the dining culture of cities across France. Brasserie St. Quentin is a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the brasserie tradition.”

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