Sunday, July 3, 2011


Last weekend was the hen party of my lovely NQT mentor Helen from school. The main event of the day was a visit to Chester Races, so in the evening a gaggle of female colleagues headed over to the smart Francs Bistro for dinner.

As usual before going out for a meal I had already had a little look at the menu in advance so had some idea of the types of yummy French food on offer and was expecting quite a posh wee place.

On arrival after a very pleasant walk through the cobbled streets of lovely sunny Chester, Francs lived up to my expectations although I would say it had a much more friendly and homely feeling to what I had been expecting.

The restaurant looked great and our table had been decorated with the usual hen party paraphernalia but in a "classy" way, if you can call it that.

When ordering our meals the first thing myself and my very lovely colleague friend Hayley commented on was how very nice and helpful the waiter was. He seemed like a very genuine man and was completely concerned with making sure we got exactly what we wanted. He spent ages discussing the cooking of Hayley's steak with her and was very happy to recommend a fish main course to me. Top notch service in my opinion.

For my starter I ordered the Salade de Crevettes - king prawns with chargrilled tomatoes and a red pepper mayonnaise.

I must say I was absolutely starving and really excited about this and when it arrived it looked awesome... but, in actual fact I'm afraid to say I was really disappointed with my starter. Despite its appearance it was actually not that tasty. Nothing actually wrong with it per se, but it really lacked flavour. The prawns barely tasted of anything, the tomatoes were so lightly chargrilled that they didn't taste of much either, I wasn't getting any red pepper or indeed any flavour at all from the mayo and the salad was crying out for some dressing to pull the dish together.

Luckily Hayley had ordered a super cute portion of olives that came in a lovely little jar so I nicked a couple of those to actually get my tastebuds doing something!

At least some people enjoyed their starter anyway! One of my colleagues ordered a French starter platter of snails, frog's legs and garlic bread! This looked great and she seemed to enjoy it!

What a shame about mine though! I was getting slightly concerned that this whole meal was going to be a major disappointment so I was thinking to myself that my main had better be awesome if Francs was going to pull itself back from that sub-standard start.

Well, it was lucky then that my main was actually AMAZING! I ordered the Loup de mer - pan fried seabass with mashed potato topped with crab flakes served in a seafood bisque.

Oh, it was absolutely DELISH! The seabass was perfectly cooked - super soft and tender with crispy skin and thin batter on the outside. The crab was deliciously meaty and the mash was super smooth with some scrumptious onions in there for texture. It was beautiful with that lovely seafood bisque. I loved it.

Hayley also really enjoyed her steak-frites, thanks in no small part I'm sure to the lovely waiter who had absolutely made certain he knew how excatly she wanted it to be cooked.

So in the end we left Francs happy after that awesome main made up for my starter. Really enjoyed that main and would still probably go back, although I definitely wouldn't order those prawns again, sort it out please Francs!

I thought the restaurant was absolutely lovely to be in and a perfect spot for a fancy little night out in Chester. If they manage to ensure that every dish on their menu is up to scratch it could be a superb place to go out in every time you hit Chester.

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