"Feels firmly French..."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Many years ago I worked on Chancery Lane and after a tough week we would escape into the depths of a former incarnation of Baranis. We loved the dark, cellar brick walls and hidden feel of the place and the intimacy of those cave-like private booths.
So – after a tough conference at the nearby Law Society offices - I popped in to see how it had changed. I was really delighted to find that these elements had been preserved. Furthermore, through the addition of some excellent burlesque wall images, they were somewhat enhanced. It now feels firmly French.
There is a small open area in the centre – around the bar – with space for a reasonable group of people and tables and chairs around the edges. But it’s all those large booths under brick arches that provide the charm – and the fact that there are slightly different levels so you can look out over the room.
Unusually, there’s a smooth gravel based petanque (that’s boules – where you throw hollow metal balls at a smaller wooden ball) alley to the side so team games are a possibility. But we were more than happy to sip on a chilled glass of Petit Chablis (£8.25) and listen to the very French music which was reminiscent of 1930s Paris. They provided a small dish of popcorn which had a rosemary flavour – lovely.
We had arrived just after 5pm and there were a few people already there – mostly office workers in small groups and one or two couples. But within a couple of hours the place was really buzzing. It did remind me of those fun nights all those years ago.
The place is owned by the same folk who own Club Gascon (a Michelin star restaurant in Smithfield) and Comptoir Gascon (its gourmet bistro neighbour which is a little easier on the pocket). And also the Cigalon restaurant which is practically upstairs.
We didn’t have time to try the food – but the menu looked good.with items such as pissaladière (onion tart £4.50/£8.50), pizzeta (£5/£9), pear and blue cheese crostini and even burgers (£9.50).
I shall return – probably with a group of pals so that we can try out the petanque.
KimT reviewed Baranis on Thu 08 May 2014