Charing Cross suddenly hit the foodie map with this proper French wine bar and restaurant full of charcuterie, terrines, cheeses, rich mains and clever little dishes such as Lincolnshire smoked eel and boudin noir with fried eggs. Wine is a magnificent selection of European winners with a French angle; much is biodynamic, too.
5 William IV Street, WC2 4DW, tel: 020 7036 0660.
GALVIN BISTROT DE LUXE
Chris and Jeff Galvin struck gold with this smart little restaurant in Baker Street, not only putting the area on the map between the Costas and Prets, but kick-starting the trend for brilliant, non-posh French cuisine backed up by an affordable wine list. Menu delights include roast veal brains and confit duck leg with black pudding. 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ, tel: 020 7935 4007.
EAST SIDE INN
Bjorn Van Der Horst, formerly of Gordon Ramsay’s La Noisette, has a brilliant fine dining restaurant, but if you want something less formal, his bistrot is a winner, with well-priced countryside nosh such as duck rillette with cornichons on toast, game terrine with apple puree and good French onion soup. Sit at the bar for the full casual vibe. 40 St John Street, EC1M 4AY, tel: 020 7490 9230.