Let me introduce you to a little slice of Paris, tucked away in NW London, Kentish Town. Step into Patron and you'll be transported to a cosy French bistro, and an evening of lovely food and wine will pass by in the blink of an eye.
It's a small restaurant, with a few comfortable tables and several seats at the bar - when we arrived (quite early for a dinner), there was already a couple at the bar sipping on drinks and enjoying a bite, and as time went on, the whole place filled up to the brim and it was packed. Clearly a popular place, no doubt a gem amongst the locals!
I loved the interiors - jazz, ambience and a more personal feel than the likes of Côte (though I think it's a pretty good pick for a chain), it was a lovely setting for a dinner date with my very excited husband, who is obviously a bistro food enthusiast (and harsh critic...).
We started with Duck Rillettes, my absolute favourite, which was delicious (but not made in-house). The bread that accompanied it left something to be desired (not the crusty baguette slices of my dreams, but nice enough), but we had no complaints about the rillettes. To "balance it out" (although by the time we chose our mains, it was all undone), we also had the Padron Peppers, which came piping hot and sizzling on the slate, and were perfect. I always forget how addictive these things are! They were also seasoned perfectly with quality rock salt, which is always important.
For our main courses, E chose the Onglet Steak with Gratin Dauphinois, and I went for the Duck Confit with Truffle Frites (the prices for each main dish includes a choice of side dish, which I think is a good deal). These were truly fantastic - the steak was flawlessly cooked (a true "rare", no shying away from it here!), the gratin was approved by the gratin pro himself, and my duck confit was wonderfully tender. They cook the duck very slowly for a very long time, and then crisp up the skin under the grill, just the way it should be. My truffle fries were superb, the whole table smelt of truffles!
As someone who is lucky enough to enjoy E's amazing French cooking regularly and having acquired high standards, I was very impressed with both dishes and we finished every little bite.
And although we could easily have left it there...
... we just had to have a mini cheese selection, and a sweet ending to round it off.
So, we had the 2 cheese platter (we chose the époisse with chilli jelly and the comté), which was so worth it, and a pretty scoop of hazelnut ice cream in a brandy snap to finish.
The staff were very friendly, and we really had a wonderful evening at Patron - it's not too far at all from central London, a very short walk away from the tube station, and they serve great quality French comfort food at competitive prices. What's not to love?