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New Restaurant in North London

You know how you sometimes eat in a restaurant and wonder whether the staff are putting on an accent thoroughly alien to that with which they grew up? Jean-Christophe sounds a bit like that. He speaks English with such a heavy French burr that it is easy to suspect that he might in fact be from Purley and is putting it on.

I first encountered JC, as he is known, when he owned a small and rather beautiful hotel outside Cluny, not far from Macon. Since then, he has more or less been working non-stop as front-of-house guru for Marco Pierre White. Now he has brought his skills and a few equally deft friends into a new venture: a restaurant called L'Absinthe in that most village-y area of north London, Primrose Hill.

Whilst others are doing their best to cook clever-clever food - with varying degrees of success - and charge top dollar, JC has succeeded in opening a haven for real foodies that is also tremendous value for money.

A crowd of us met there the other evening for a birthday celebration. JC had been instructed to feed everyone with whatever he was recommending on the night and, boy, the food came thick and fast and nothing was less than absolutely delicious. Dishes of sea bass, pork, beef appeared and were despatched with general sighs of approval. I cannot more fully describe what we ate, as I was enjoying the house wine that seemed to be attached to some sort of sprinkler system. Nevertheless, we all had a fantastic evening, ate extremely well and lightened our wallets by a modest sum. I urge anyone and everyone to give it a go.

40 Chalcot Road
Primrose Hill
London NW1 8LS

Tel: 0207 483 4848
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SN10 1HT

t: 01380 827291