Soho restaurateurs set to open Patron on Fortess Road


The owners of Lexington Street’s Cafe Gourmand are the latest to relocate in NW5



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How Patron may look. Cafe Gourmand, Lexington St W1. Photo: Photo: Chez Alessandra
Next up in the seemingly endless flurry of openings on Fortess is a casual French restaurant, Patron, from the couple behind Soho staple Cafe Gourmand, which today closes its doors. This, of course, follows both Bear + Wolf and Shoe Shop, the new incarnation of Soho institution Giaconda Dining Rooms.

But what’s interesting about this forthcoming addition is it’s at the Kentish Town (not Tufnell) end of the road. Taking over No 26, currently the Yuzu takeaway (and a couple of doors down from Baan Thai), this is a stretch that could still benefit from fresh ideas.

The couple are taking over 26 Fortess Road.
The couple are taking over 26 Fortess Road.

French-English owners Tanzi and Jean-Francois met 9 years ago at cheffing college. “We moved into Kentish Town in May 2013,” says Tanzi, “and just fell in love with the area. We talked about how wonderful it would be to open somewhere and couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a French shop of some kind yet, with all the French schools and French neighbours. So the moodboard began – and search for the ideal spot.”

More recently they’ve been putting in the hours on the finer details. “It’s been a whirlwind of excitement over the last few weeks, travelling through France in search of treasures for the opening of what we are calling our “cave a manger”. The name Patron means both a regular customer and the owner of a restaurant, so we hope to create a friendly and convivial place for our locals.”

Patron will serve small plates, charcuterie, saucisson as well as classics such as duck confit and steak tartare. “Alongside this we are currently applying for a drinks licence so we can compliment these dishes with some fine organic and natural wines,” says Tanzi. “Support for our application would be very much appreciated.”

Interior, Soho. Photo: Cafe Gourmand
Interior. Photo: Cafe Gourmand

Surely no-one would object to such a place? With its cute street-facing counter, decent espresso, Parisian classics, all-day license and Francophile soundtrack – in fact, on a recent visit, we Shazammed and then downloaded Yann Tierson’s L’Absente – we enjoyed Cafe Gourmand’s fin de siecle elegance, which hovered just the right side of too-cute.

Interestingly the new offer may not in fact be a million miles from that at nearby Shoe Shop – mashed-up avocado on toast, steak-frites, duck confit, onion soup. So we’ll have to see how it all pans out between this new generation of French-focused eateries.

And lest we forget, the vogue for a cute brasserie is hardly new round here: it started way back in ’78 with the arrival of the highly rated Le Petit Prince (now Troy Cafe) on that unlikely stretch, Holmes Road.

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Patron will be located on 26 Fortess Road NW5. It opens in October.

  • Show Comments

  • Jamie Firth

    I’m assuming that this means Yuzu is closing? Which would be my only objection: I Love Yuzu. 🙁

  • Caro

    Fantastic news. Hope it will be good quality and real French food – Shoe shop has been such a horrible disappointement. Hope to see some similar openings further down on KT high street too..

    • Andy Andy

      Second that – while the food is average there is just something just…wrong…about Shoe Shop.

  • Mad Dog

    It’s more like Redchurch Street to me and all this up market stuff will price the ordinary people who’ve lived here for years, out of the area.

    • Pat K

      You said it Mad Dag…more halal chicken and poundshops please!

      • Mad Dog

        If you love Redchurch Street there’s nothing stoping you living there. It was cool 5 or 6 years ago with nice little shops and galleries, but now the big boys have moved in and the cool places have closed or are closing down. The rents are astronomical with matching prices in the shops.

  • Arthur Beebe

    Cafe Gourmand has been a local treasure, lovely welcoming atmosphere and a great plate of food at a sensible price. Good luck all if you, Kentish town’s win is our loss, love from your friends and neighbours who live in Soho. We will miss you xxx

  • K Town Lover

    Every time The Kentish Towner posts another opening like this it makes my heart sink. K Town is fast becoming a monoculture of pricey twee coffee shops, and like Mad Dog says ordinary people are being priced out of the area.

    Is the Kentish Towner funded by estate agents? It feels like it sometimes.

  • Bernadette

    I understand from reading the article that this a local couple, who live In Kentish Town, opening up a restaurant for locals, they’re not a faceless chain like Côte or Cafe Rouge…….just a hard working couple passionate about French food and wanting to bring it to Fortress Rd. They should be applauded.

  • Laura

    Good to see Yuzu is finally closing- Japanese pizza? how discombobulating!

    • Christine

      You have to try their prawn tempura!

  • Marky C

    Don’t know why people have such a downer about certain places opening. What’s wrong with a small restaurant run by a local couple – surely this is a good thing, as Bernadette says above?

    What you rather – an empty unit? There are quite a few on both Fortess Road and the high street at the moment.

    • Nick J

      From some of the comments I’ve seen here over the years, people are very very very keen on pound shops and empty units. Seen a lot of interesting new businesses slated before they’ve even begun, unfortunately.

  • Gavin

    We started this. Kudos to us.

  • Gavin

    The Co-op are opening there too. In the Tally Ho.

  • Hi st Ken

    I think this sounds glorious – good on them! The Kentishtowner celebrates Kentish town and it’s community which is diverse – all opinions are valued and so we must value those of the haters. But…times change, gentrification happens…deal with it! Let us remember this is not Starbucks, this is not Cafe Rouge, this is not another f..ing tesco, this is a small privately and locally owned business with what sounds like a lovely ethic. Something my to be celebrated!!
    Anyway, nuff said.
    Good luck to Tanzi and Jean-Francoise

  • hollystagg

    Hey what is that you say about the co op opening? I live in the tally ho so would be good to know? Thanks

  • Jon Simmons

    That would be a third Co-op in NW5 wouldn’t it?