Review: French & Grace, Camden Lock Market


Lebanese-influenced flatbreads, decent soups and coffee. That’s all it takes to make this little hatch a real destination



Halluomi and mint spill out of the F&G flatbread
Halloumi and mint spill out of the F&G flatbread. Photo: Stephen Emms
Rosie French and Ellie Grace are well and truly living the foodie dream. They’ve ticked all the boxes in the four years since a first foray into informal supper gatherings at their homes in Brixton.

These Salad Club events blossomed into a website which won an Observer Food Monthly Best Blog award in 2010. Then came the KERB streetfood stall, regular festival circuit appearances, publication of a glossy recipe book and a permanent home at Brixton Village.

And in September they opened north of the river, at London’s burgeoning foodie hotspot Camden Lock Market too. Taking over ‘the hatch’ that had served up overly-worthy vegeburgers for many years, the new offering is simple, but very good.

There are four kinds of Lebanese-influenced flatbread wraps, super fresh salads to go inside them, a soup of the day and Volcano coffee.

'The Hatch', now all about the wraps
‘The Hatch’, now all about the wraps

We plumped for the chargrilled halloumi (£6), the cheese pleasingly soft and light rather than rubbery, as can often be the case. Pomegranate, pickles and red cabbage each brought their own tastes to the party, a generous spring of fresh mint and a tahini sauce topping the ensemble off very nicely too.

The lamb merguez wrap (£6) combined the same crunchy base with a meaty, flavoursome sausage centre. All the meat here (and in Brixton too, as a matter of fact) comes from Rosslyn Hill’s Hampstead Butcher and Providore, selected by F&G long before coming to Camden for the particular quality of these sausages, which they feel to be unrivalled anywhere in London.

Chorizo comes from the Providore too, the nibble we had proving it to be another wrap filling winner, (the final flatbread on the menu being the Uber, a combination of all three (£7) for the guiltlessly ravenous).

An earthy borscht was soup of the day on our visit, with more of a Bloody Mary hue than the radioactive shock of beetroot we’d expected. It was an accomplished blend of veg, and the ideal companion for cradling while sat at one of the small tables on the cobbles out front.

Soup of the day? Yes please
Soup of the day? Yes please

With Honest Burger as neighbours and the likes of Chin Chin Labs an olive-stone’s throw up the street, French and Grace’s hatch is right at the centre of a fertile local grazing ground for streetfood fans. Yet trays of vaguely oriental mix-n-match gloop are still being served nearby at the same prices, doing the unwary visitor a grave culinary disservice.

Those in the know – so do spread the word – will fend off the offers of a free prawn ball and go flat out for the flatbreads.

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Frence & Grace, 34b Camden Lock Place, Mon-Friday 8am-6pm Sat-Sun 9:30am-6:30pm Find them easily via GPS map on our Nearby page

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