It pains me to write a bad review for a locally-owned place, especially one in my beloved Brixton Village. But I’ve got to be honest! French & Grace, squeezed into one of the smallest units of the Village, offers a mixture of what they call Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, mostly wraps and salads.
We ordered a mezze to start, adding halloumi for an extra pound, coming to £7.50. Now I love a good mezze, but a good mezze this was not. About half the plate was filled with some kind of grated vegetables, I don’t know what they were – carrots, beetroot or cabbage or all or none of the above? They were unidentifiable because they tasted of nothing. Ditto the broccoli and couscous salad. The butter bean and rosemary hummus was as bland as putty. There was a measly blob of labneh which was the best thing about it, but you can’t really go wrong with garlicky yogurt can you. The whole plate was CRYING and BEGGING out for a squeeze of lemon, some herbs, ANY FLAVOUR AT ALL.
The one piece of warmed-up supermarket flatbread it came with was served on a dirty wicker platter (Really?? A whole platter for one measly piece of bread?), complete with a nice long hair garnish. Which was a nice touch.
For our mains we ordered the lamb merguez wrap and that day’s special, which was chorizo, goat’s cheese and roasted beetroot on toasted sourdough. The wrap contained one spindly spicy sausage running down the middle, some hummus, and mounds of that ghastly grated unidentified vegetable salad stuff! It was back! With a vengeance! Blander than ever! The sausage itself was quite nice, but there was hardly any of it. And I doubt French or Grace made it themselves so they hardly deserve praise for buying a nice sausage. At £5.50 there should have been more salad variety and a little more meat.
The one saving grace of the whole snore-fest was the chorizo special. Juicy grilled chorizo, gooey goat’s cheese (that I think had been combined with yogurt), earthy and moist yet crispy beets, with a healthy drizzling of garlicky dressing – finally some dressing! Ok the sourdough was so hard it was a bit like two paving slabs at the bottom. But the flavours were great.
The success of the last dish made me think that French & Grace probably have some other dishes that are pretty nice; I think they do different salads for the mezze every day. I really wanted to like it! I bloody love their cute backstory of two pals quitting their busy day jobs to set up in Brixton Village – that is the dream! And the service was really lovely. But this hungry (and poor) gal will be eating elsewhere rather than giving them a second chance. Soz.