There’s an exclusive feel to Folie, the glitzy London first from restauranteur Guillaume Depoix. This is felt from the minute you arrive: a velvet curtain protects the restaurant’s entrance on Golden Square, the spot where Soho meets Mayfair. Since opening late last year it’s welcomed a host of glamorous names, and Victoria Beckham recently hailed it as one of her favourite places to dine out in Europe.
Rumour has it the restaurant cost a whopping £5 million to produce – no surprise, when you see the ultra-chic interiors, which come courtesy of Studio KO, the Parisian agency behind Chiltern Firehouse. The design is intended to evoke the glamour of the French Riviera in the 1970s: think curved brown banquettes, terrazzo flooring, shiny mirrored tables and quirky bespoke lighting.
Despite the smart surroundings, there’s a relaxed feel to Folie. It’s the kind of place you could easily spend a while – on a recent trip there, a friend and I whiled away a whole Saturday afternoon.
The Mediterranean-inspired menu is fittingly stylish, led by Executive Head Chef Christophe Marleix, whose sparkling CV includes The Dorchester, Annabel’s and Plaza Athénée in Paris. Food runs from breakfast through to dinner – we went for a late, leisurely brunch, which ended up being a three-course affair.
Begin by channelling the restaurant’s holiday vibes with an aperitif at the glistening gold bar. You can’t go wrong with a Bellini, mixed here with Crémant, white peaches and raspberries, best enjoyed with a couple of bits from the Épicerie menu: chickpea panisse perhaps (fries made from chickpeas) or some Italian charcuterie.
Whatever time you go, start with a few light sharing plates. The burratina is a highlight, served with lentils and peppered with crunchy pomegranate seeds – unusual, but it works. This is a common theme here: classic dishes spruced up with luxurious ingredients. The scrambled eggs, for instance, are cooked with sea urchins, and even the avo-on-toast has been given a fancy glow up.
Mains are equally enticing. Many of these, too, are designed to be shared: there’s a crowd-pleasing confit shoulder of lamb, or a lovely Dover sole dish. The salads shouldn’t be overlooked, either – the creative beetroot, clementine and chickpea combination is a winner. Finally, end your meal on a high with the Folie ‘chichi’, a jam-filled doughnut with coconut, mango and passion fruit sorbet.
When you eventually manage to make the leap back into cold London town, you’ll leave dreaming of long lunches on the beach, longing to book a trip to sunnier climes.
37 Golden Square, Soho, London W1F 9LB. folie.london