Michelle Francis


About Michelle Francis

Michelle is an ex-restauranteur and chef, a chatterer and a food lover. She currently runs London food walking tours in the neighbourhoods of Soho and Marylebone. Antipodean by birth, Londoner by love.


Vegan Chocolate Whisky Mousse

This sneaky little vegan chocolate mousse will have friends and family squealing with incredulity. “I can’t believe it’s vegan!’ Yes, it is very scrummy. Putting aside the controversy over whether the phytoestrogens in tofu give blokes ‘man-boobs’ or not, this recipe is an excellent one to have up your sleeve […]

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Bullying

Going Off Piste.

But first a word of warning.   This blog is usually an enthusiastic nod to the pleasure of hedonistic pursuits. Fabulous morsels to nibble on. Dribbles down your chin. The odd sojourn into the wonderland of crisp luxe hotel sheets and Michelin plates of smears.   Not today. Today I […]


Eating Jersey

Hands up if you know Jersey has its own currency, Nope?   A ‘fiver’ in Jersey is very much like the English five pound note, except for one small, but critical detail. The queen is smiling. Yes, beaming from ear to ear. It’s somewhat alarming, but having spent a few […]

Jersey sunset

RECIPE: Basil Seed and Lime Friands

My friend’s dog died recently. I have to declare that I’m not really a doggy person, but Frisco was a chilled and laid-back kind of sausage, and in his quietness, he let me grow quite fond of him. He wasn’t bouncy or brash or ballsy, but you always knew he […]

Lime and Basil Seed Friands recipe 2

The Ivy Marylebone

The Ivy Marylebone – review

The Ivy Café’s newest family member in charming Marylebone Lane doesn’t push any gastronomic boats out, but then it doesn’t need to. It’s elegant and comfortable and does a wicked Negoni Tasting Set. Weekend brunch in Marylebone is a notoriously staid affair. There’s rarely anything more controversial than somewhere serving […]


A Taste of Jersey in London 1

TIME SENSITIVE POST No plans for the weekend? I have an idea. Try ‘fusion’ food. But this is not ‘fusion’ food as you might know it to be.  This is fusion food with a difference.   For two nights only Londoners will have the chance to taste the fusion of food that […]

Mark Jordan at One-o-one

My Top Five Eats of 2015

I don’t do new year’s resolutions. Too many direct debit payments to gyms and an avalanche of newsletters from obscure and esoteric clubs I’ve signed up to in the first blush of a new year, tell their own cautionary tales. I know now: Puppies aren’t just for Christmas and Resolutions aren’t just for […]


Lima Floral

  I’m a sucker for a beautiful floor.  Polished concrete, shiny oak, cool marble, textured tiles, I love them all.  So the first thing that snared me at Lima Floral wasn’t the food, but the floors. The tiles are wonderful geometric shapes, a little reminiscent of art deco tiles of the 30s. […]

Lima Floral 2

Coba_Vietnamese

Côba and London New Food Trends

“My biggest tip here is: Do. Not. Share. This dish needs to be eaten in its entirety. By you alone.”   There’s no doubting the popularity of Middle Eastern and Peruvian food in London at the moment. But the latest cuisine-driven trend to tippy-toe up and surprise us, is Vietnamese. The fresh, […]


Eating American at The Lockhart

“American!”, ms scratchy went screechy. “You mean they do more than McDonalds?!” Yes, it seems, they do. It was a bit of a risk this.  My palms were sweaty, I wasn’t entirely sure it would end well.  She’d just got off a 24 hour long haul flight and we hadn’t […]

Brad McDonald Head Chef of The Lockhart

Modern Pantry Finsbury Park

Modern Pantry, Finsbury Square – Review 1

Sister restaurant to the much loved Modern Pantry of Clerkenwell, this younger sibling is sassy and glamorous and all grown up. Good food from the Antipodes is not well represented in London. Peter Gordon from Providores led the Antipodean push into London with Marylebone stalwart, Providores back in 2001. More […]


Portland Restaurant – Review

Every now and then a particular dish pings ferociously into the stormy eye of the capital’s culinary zeitgeist.  In 2014, it was *those* crab donuts at Chiltern Firehouse flooding instagram and Twitter feeds, knocking out any news of the Ebola crisis or Lindsay Lohan’s exploits.    Earlier this year *that* green matcha […]


RECIPE: Honeycomb Icecream

“Homemade Honeycomb Icecream : a heady creamy mix with kicks of fizzy honeycomb flakes”   I can eat good homemade icecream any time of the year. My tummy is not weather sensitive and my sweet tooth will happily make friends with a bowl of luscious creamy blobs whether the sun […]


Waffle On at the Watch House

New Bermondsey collaboration by Watch House Coffee and Waffle On waffle-wranglers is a love match orchestrated by the angels. Watch House has been pumping out perfect shots of caffeinated joy for just over a year from the teensy, but gorgeous 19th century ‘Watch House’ in Bermondsey. They also do a very […]

Waffle_On_watch house

Chickpeas in Coconut Milk - recipe

RECIPE: Chickpeas in Coconut Milk 2

“You’re not much of a celebrity, are you?”.   I’m smidgingly besotted by India. If I could only travel to one more country in my entire lifetime it would be that enigmatic, perplexing, intoxicating country. I’ve visited her half a dozen times and spent a total of about two and […]


Morden & Lea – Review 2

“Is this wonderful restaurant in the wrong part of town?”   The food at Morden & Lea is vibrant, bouncy, seasonal British fare. It’s well prepared, well priced and well presented. I would definitely recommend trying it out if you find yourself in the midst of the dragons and throngs […]

Morden and Lea

Social Wine and Tapas

Social Wine and Tapas – Review

Jason Atherton has insomnia. Well I don’t know this for sure, but it’s all I can think by way of explaining how he can possibly have the energy and time to launch and manage the number of eateries in his rapidly bulging portfolio.   Latest up is his new Social […]


When Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express Grows Up

“Asma Khan’s food is more aromatically spiced that the ‘hot hot hot’ spicing many British palates have come to believe is Indian fare. It’s layered and complex and sophisticated.” Asma Khan is utterly delightful. Warm and gregarious. Witty and charismatic. Her energy is so contagious that you just want to […]


Pictures Restaurant

Pictures Restaurant – Review

Shepherd’s Bush has a lot going on for foodies. The wonderful Damas Gate middle eastern supermarket has anything you’d ever need to whip up a lavish middle eastern banquet. There’s the famous Shepherd’s Bush Market and also an outlet of Abu Zaad – one of my favorite Damascan restaurants in […]


Is Pink the New White? The Rise of Rosé

Hands up if you’ve ever been embarrassed to admit you like your wine, pink. Come on now, be honest. Thought so.   Until recently rosés were served with a sneer and a shooter of judgement; dismissed as a girly tipple for the ‘little lady’ or worse, the effeminate man. But […]

Rose wine at Portland restaurant

Bar Termini Coffee Shots

Bar Termini – Review

Marco Arrigo has opinions. On all sorts of things, I imagine, but the ones he holds on coffee are intractable, unyielding and often controversial. I like an opinion. Prefer a super-sized one to none at all. Marco and I got on. In ‘Bar Termini’, his wee 1950s-esque Italian-styled café at […]


Northbank Restaurant – Review 1

“I love a tasting menu. Maybe it’s just the greedy girl in me, but I want to try everything.” Most Londoners and visitors to London have heard of Southbank. They’ve got a vague concept of where it is and what to expect once they get there. The Tate. The National. […]

Northbank Restaurant Review

Spring Restaurant_Remoulade

Spring Restaurant – Review 2

“Spring is light and breezy, embracing all the loveliness of a period building without slavishly bowing to heritage or giving over to historical heaviness.” Too girly.  When London’s Spring restaurant first opened at the end of 2014 it attracted a fair whack of criticism. Not especially about the menu, the […]


Pimp Your Blood Oranges

There’s something almost prehistoric about the way blood oranges look. I love the look of blood oranges.  They taste amazing of course, but there’s something almost prehistoric about the way they look.  All our rules around visual appearance tell us they shouldn’t really be this weirdo combination of red and orange. […]

Recipe_Dried Blood Orange

Rex & Mariano

Food Trends: Rex & Mariano

In a world of do-it-yourself, where Waitrose makes you your own check-out-chick and most of us don’t remember the last time we processed a payment with an actual cashier (cashier? huh? the younger generation will find a useful glossary at the end of this post), Rex & Mariano are taking self-service […]


Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Roulade

This is the one that prompted the penning of “A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips”. There. You have been warned. It is, however rather scrummy and a worthy contender for your weekly calorie intake. It’s slightly fiddly to make but that’s probably a good thing as […]

Hazelnut and Chocolate Roulade

Blue Rooster at Trafalgar Square

Blue Chicken Flies Fourth Plinth

What seems to have captured the masses is its sense of whimsy and beauty. It’s grand. Regal. Commanding. But it is also blue. So very blue. It’s fanciful, beguiling and a just a little absurd.   London loved that Blue Chicken.  For non-Londoners wondering if it’s some sort of urban […]