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I’ve always wanted a folly. Sadly, my garden doesn’t quite have the proportions. In 18th century France, a folie was an extravagant dwelling built in the gardens of the gentry and used for all manner of pleasure. Of course, folie is also French for madness!
For his Folie on Golden Square, Guillaume Depoix assembled a top notch team. Head Chef Christophe Marleix whom he met while working with 3 Michelin starred Alain Ducasse and Studio KO, known for their work on Chiltern Firehouse. If you’re looking for folly, you won’t find it here. What you will find is extravagance. Take some mad money!
The concept is built around the dining culture of the Riviera with a throwback to the glam ‘60s, a trend spawned by the TV series, Madmen. The 3 martini lunch may be déclassé, but on a wet Monday in the middle of dry January, there’s nothing better than a long, boozy lunch! The clash of colours and long, leather banquettes won’t transport you to the Mediterranean, but the opulent bar and the ‘60s vibe will certainly invite you to drink!
Service was great from start to finish. Our waiter David was superb. His easy charm and elegance make him a real credit to the place. And he speaks Danish! A rare treat to use my second language.
Chef Marleix trained with the best and it shows. His menu sticks to the Riviera concept with his own adaptations of French and Italian classics presented beautifully in a minimalist style. Crab on toast (£18) was a fine example. A single medallion, simply dressed, briny and sweet, with a garnish of watercress. Burratina (£15) came on a bed of delicious coral lentils, with corn and pomegranate adding sugar and acid.
A glass of 2015 Pouilly-Fuissé, Domaine Guerrin Sur la Roch (£16) was smooth and buttery. The king of Chardonnay.
For mains, turbot came with chard and a sauce of olive oil, capers and herbs (£28). Simple, classic but slightly overcooked. Seared red mullet (£26) was beautifully filleted with the tail intact. Caramelised fennel, potato and lightly pickled onion garnished the plate and a “Bouillabaisse” sauce added the required Riviera touch. Lovely, but again, slightly overcooked.
Desserts won the day. It was here that Chef Marleix’ personality really came through with a combination of elegance and ingenuity. Folie “chichi”, coconut, mango and passion sorbet (£9) was a dream. A sweet, sugar-coated, custard-filled beignet, with fresh mango and a wonderful passionfruit sorbet that woke me right up! Best of all was Chocolate, caramel and buckwheat (£11). A thin shell of dark chocolate was filled with a light chocolate mousse, topped with a caramel cream, served with buckwheat ice cream and the most delicate buckwheat wafers. Just fabulous. Buckwheat has such a special taste. With chocolate, it’s a joy.
The Riviera, ‘60s glam, color clash, wild extravagance …I’m tempted to call it madness, but in 2020, we all need a bit of folly.