Review: Patron Cave a Manger, Kentish Town
Style Points: 4/5
Tucked in a row of shops a bit further up the street then you expect is Patron Cave a Manger. This French Bistro a tiny place with a touch of an industrial look. There’s an exposed brick wall and mirrors and chalkboards. There is something about the marble bar with wooden panelling, huge mirror and brick wall that made it feel in someway like a 20s speakeasy.
Would I Want Seconds?
We started with some cocktails and nibbles. I order the Speakeasy Punch (£5) mostly because it said it came in a tea cup and I’m so into quirky things like that. Meanwhile my husband ordered a French Kiss (£10) which had raspberries and chili and was quite the interesting drink. We ended up trading though…I think maybe I’m just not that into rum. I was a bit put off at the price difference, but the French Kiss drink was strong without tasting too strong.
For starters I saw Camembert Fondu (£12) and thought that sounded like a lovely warm treat for the chilly, rainy evening. My husband on the other hand had his eye on the Saucisson (£5) and to be honest having both to share kind of worked for us.
For the mains I decided to go for the Pork Chop (or Porc as they spelled it) with the Sautéed Garlic Potatoes (£15). But the real star of the evening…the thing that I couldn’t stop raving about after our visit is the Duck Confit with Truffle Fries (£16.50 plus a £1.50 supplement for the truffle fries). Now the key to getting the most out of this dish is to dip the fries in the duck confit sauce. There is just something about those salty fries and earthy undertones of the truffle oil combined with the sweet red wine reduction sauce. It was absolutely heavenly and the very thing that’s tipped my rating to a 5. My pork chop was tasty and satisfying and I have no complaints, but comparatively I have to say it just doesn’t compare to me…the duck and truffle fries win!
After the truffle fries and duck confit we didn’t really need a dessert, but that’s never stopped us before. So I ordered the Cafe Gourmand (£8) which was basically a dessert sampler with creme brûlée, brownie and some ice cream. As a bonus it comes with an espresso or mint tea …neither actually appealed to me but I got the mint tea as the less offensive choice. My husband on the other hand decided to go for a cheese selection instead of a dessert. He ordered the French Cheese Board (£13 for four cheeses). Both choices were good for different reasons. I enjoyed the brownie most and wish it had been a bit bigger - but I could have just ordered the brownie even though I’m glad I tried the other desserts.
Could I Afford Seconds?
I think that as a whole Patron is just on the edge of feeling overpriced based on the look and location of the restaurant. However, the quality of the food and service were absolutely fantastic and rival that of much pricier establishments.
In fact, the main courses are not actually expensive, it’s the extras that add up. The mains themselves were all under £20 including an 8oz steak, which includes a side, unless you want to upgrade to the truffle fries.
I would absolutely recommend that you visit Patron Cave a Manger in Kentish Town. And promise me when you go that you try the duck confit and the truffle fries and you dip the fries in the sauce. It is the tastiest combination I’ve tried in my whole time here in London…maybe even longer.
The menu also included all the traditional scary French foods…so if you’re more adventurous than me you could even get frog legs! They've got enough variety that you could visit several times but not so many options that they haven’t taken the time to really consider the dishes and make them really nice.
Additionally, the service was particularly fantastic and something I often find lacking in restaurants, so it was refreshing to see such helpful, friendly staff.
Address: 26 Fortess Rd, London NW5 2HB
Closest Tube Station: Kentish Town