Maison Francois Wine List
Maison Francois Updates
About Maison Francois
Maison Francois is a slick, neo-traditional brasserie in St James’. The moreish menu reels off classic after classic – oeuf on gelée, leeks vinaigrette, pâte en croute, poulet rôti, cotes de veux… There’s a great value late afternoon/pre theatre ‘formule’ and a not-to-be-missed dessert trolley laden with no-end of pastry encased treats. Franks is their lively subterranean cocktail bar that also serves the full wine list, all the small plates and a £1 Oyster Happy Hour from 5-7pm. Get in.
Wine Director Daniel Illsey has put together a thoughtful and proper wine list and executed it with a creative and playful flourish. You get the sense this was a labour of love, with almost as much thought put into the presentation and communication as the skilfully chosen 250 or so bottles. The wines are organised by region and it’s a list you can happily read from cover to cover, like a book, a journey that has France as its focus but takes in the best of the best from everywhere else in between. Each country or region features chic illustrations (also by Daniel) and engaging and educational snippets of information on the history and context of its wines. There’s a useful index of all wines for quick reference; a great time-saver should you just want to get the wine flowing. Really get the sense they care, as well as proving you can be serious about wine and have fun at the same time.
The list is something of an evolving beast, reprinting happens every six weeks to maintain accuracy and allow fine wines to be refreshed. Soon to come is a chapter called ‘Ancient World’, exploring the Eastern Med and Georgia. Producers are small and independent, there’s plenty for natural fiends and traditionalists alike. It’s nice to see Bordeaux getting more attention than usual these days, older vintages not uncommon. There’s a solid selection of grower Champagnes. Large formats, halves, fortified and sweets are deftly covered. Central to their wine programme is the regular roster of wine tastings, dinners and winemaker visits (recent highlights: Beaujolais Nouveau and Perfume and Smoke of Piedmont).
Daniel IllsleyWine Director
Xavier SockeelHead Sommelier