First Look: Josephine Bouchon, Chelsea, London
Published 05 March 2024

Bibendum's Claude Bosi returns to his Lyonnaise roots with the opening of a classic neighbourhood bouchon in south west London. We take an early look.

There are certain London neighbourhoods that should be full of great restaurants but in reality are culinary deserts. These areas are often wealthy postcodes but with proximity to the West End that means there is little need to cater for locals. But with the rising costs of opening a restaurant in central London and the post-pandemic trend of working from home, the neighbourhood restaurant is most definitely in vogue, with a new opening from Claude Bosi and his wife Lucy bringing the spotlight to Fulham Road.

First look: Josephine Bouchon, Fulham, London
The corner site has been beautifully designed to create a cosy, yet spacious dining room with a style reminiscent of Keith McNally’s restaurants in New York.

Bosi’s flagship restaurant Bibendum is barely a mile up the Fulham Road, but Josephine Bouchon, which pays homage to the chef’s hometown of Lyon, is targeting a very different crowd. The corner site has been beautifully designed to create a cosy, yet spacious dining room with a style reminiscent of Keith McNally’s restaurants in New York. An antiqued mirror towards the back of the dining room displays the plat du jour: Monday is steak haché with mashed potato, blanquette de veau with rice is served on Wednesdays and moules frites for Friday – all at £15.50 – a price point that calls to mind Brasserie Zédel in Piccadilly, and which sets out a clear intention to cater for the Chelsea locals.

First look: Josephine Bouchon, Fulham, London
A candlelit corner table at Josephine Bouchon restaurant in Chelsea, London

The full carte is made up of eight starters, including a Saint-Félicien cheese soufflé, a steak tartare, a French onion soup, and frogs legs in garlic butter with a finger bowl encouraging diners to eat with their hands. Mains consist of hearty dishes such as veal sweetbread with morel sauce and coquillette with Parisienne ham, comté and black truffle. There’s a choice of beef fillet and onglet too, along with two larger family style sharing dishes of French rabbit, mustard and tarragon sauce and a rotisserie chicken with salad and potatoes - easily enough for three to four people. A ‘PTD’ (pommes des terres) section of the menu offers five potato dishes including dauphinois, pommes vapeur and pommes duchesse.

First look: Josephine Bouchon, Fulham, London
Salade composée (today’s salad) and cuisses de grenouilles à l’ail (frogs legs in garlic butter)

To finish, a generous serving of chocolate mousse for two or perhaps a floating island. For those looking for some of the more classic Lyonnaise dishes, there is a two (£24.50) or three (£29.59) course set menu with dishes such as pike mousse, brawn, andouillette and pigs trotters. House wine is left on the table and, as per the bouchons of Lyon, measured with a wooden ruler at the end of the meal to see how much has been consumed. Readers may recognise the former co-owner of Arbutus and Wild Honey, Will Smith, returned from a stint in Scotland to run the floor.

First look: Josephine Bouchon, Fulham, London
Oeuf à la neige, prâline rose (floating island, pink pralines, custard)

Next month we’ll be opening nominations for our Best Local Restaurants 2024 and Josephine Bouchon is just the sort of restaurant you’d wish for at the end of your road.

WHERE 315A Fulham Road, London SW10 9QH
WHEN Opened Saturday 2nd March 2024
OPEN Lunch and dinner everyday
FOLLOW @josephinebouchon
BOOK josephinebouchon.com

The Good Food Guide allows three to six months before anonymously inspecting a new restaurant. Look out for a full review coming soon,