MasterChef finalist Matthew Ryle to head new St James's brasserie

05 February 2020 by
MasterChef finalist Matthew Ryle to head new St James's brasserie

MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Matthew Ryle is set to helm the kitchen of new brasserie and wine bar Maison François when it opens this spring.

The restaurant, founded by François O'Neill, will open in London's St James's on Duke Street in the building that formerly housed Simon Parker Bowles' Green's Restaurant and Bar until it relocated in 2016. The new restaurant will pay homage to the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace.

O'Neill's father Hugh co-founded Knightsbridge's Brasserie St Quentin in 1980 and François took the reins in 2008, transforming it into the Brompton Bar & Grill.

Ryle was previously head chef at Isabel in Mayfair. Ed Wyand, formerly head maître d' at Scott's and owner of Verden wine bar, will head up the front of house team.

In the mornings Maison François will serve breads and pâtisserie from the in-house bakery, while at lunch oysters, terrines and homemade charcuterie will be on offer. The menu will offer brasserie classics such as Reblochon gougères and oeufs mimosa as well as ravioli dauphine, Comté and black pepper. Whole fish and cuts of meat will be cooked over a wood-fired grill.

Vegetable dishes, such as pea fricassee with broad beans, Gem lettuce, Riesling and tarragon will also be available, while a pudding trolley will serve classics such as gâteau Marjolaine, praline Paris-Brest and seasonal fruit tarts.

Downstairs will be wine bar Frank's, serving terrines and pâté en croûte, charcuterie, 150 wines, sherry and bar snacks that can be paired with wines from the same region.

Interiors will feature 20ft-high ceilings hung with art deco chandeliers, mirror-filled arches and off-white drapery, as well as a patinated bronze clock above the open kitchen.

O'Neill said: "Maison François will be everything a brasserie should be – welcoming, fun and hospitable, with classic dishes made with the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – while also ripping up the rulebook when it comes to service.

"We'll show great respect for the legendary restaurants we admire, while marrying this heritage with our love for the dining culture of cities across France. Brasserie St Quentin is a hard act to follow, but I'm looking forward to putting my own stamp on the brasserie tradition."

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