There is a bar restaurant in East Dulwich called The French House. The French House is frequently confused with local residents’ actual French houses, in sentences like “Darling, shall we go to the French House this weekend, or has Molly got fondue classes?” and “I noticed some dubious looking characters hanging around in the French House darling, I hadn’t realised your family were staying”.
As an East Dulwich resident, should you be summoned to the French house and a series of unlikely misunderstandings work in your favour you may end up in the French House in Soho. This would be a delightful surprise and you would rightfully feel extremely pleased with yourself.
That’s because the French House is a diamond in the rough of gourmet burrito restaurants, clip joints, and chain pubs who proudly spent their entire marketing budget on a pun.
I’m not sure how long the French House has been trading but it seems like it’s probably a long time. Long enough, one would have thought, that France was still viewed in fondness as an unkemp, oddly charming neighbour rather than a gigantic refuse pipe spewing benefit-scrounging Europeans and blood crazed jihadists onto the shores of our noble land. Any notion of kinship with our Gallic next-door neighbours has of course been vetoed by the British public, a public who would almost certainly view the French House’s smaller than usual drinks measures as a chilling prophesy of continued EU membership, and they may well be right. The Brussels-lite half pint servings force annoyingly frequent trips to the bar, and the risk of conversation with the unsettlingly eclectic and demoralisingly interesting people who gather there.
You are best, of course, to own a holiday cottage in Languedoc, where characters and charm can be kept at arms length until a suitably whimsical weekend presents itself, whilst using London to systematically swell your bank account in preparation for Molly’s university years. And as places like The French House are ever diminishing in an increasingly homogenised city, at least in a few years Molly can enjoy a proper imperial measure of good British Beer.