It’s been a long time in the making but finally yesterday the renamed Frenchgate 29 opened to the public. I went along for lunch…..
As the Frenchgate Cafe some years ago, it was probably the most popular place for a smart lunch or an informal meal the town had to offer. But the premises at the bottom of the hill has since had something of an identity crisis after subsequent owners attempted to relaunch it as a tapas bar with poor cooking and worse service before finally closing the doors a couple of years ago.
Now it has been reinvented once more with a quality refit which is modern and airy with wooden floors, real effect fire and mirrors to open up the bijou space.
And the menu has returned to something similar to the old cafe with a modern European feel.
The lunch menu includes favourites such as club sandwiches and a soup of the day alongside linguine and croque monsieur.They also serve up the quality Tea Pigs tea.
I fancied the potato rosti (do I detect a bit of Bettys inspiration here?) with grilled veg and mozzarella cheese. It was good – generous tasty and accompanied with a side salad which included an interesting honey house dressing.
Personally I’m not big on the square plates and oversized cups but they’re small niggles – I’m just a bit old-fashioned like that. Then again, in Richmond that’s not an usual state of being…
Progress is always a hard-fought thing here – depite increasing numbers of tourists, this is small town Yorkshire where the pensioners’ special reigns supreme and a cafe which doesn’t offer toasted teacakes is regarded as a new-fangled oddity.
So square plates = a brave move.
But fellow diners at the first day seemed, like us, appreciative that someone’s going to make a go of offering something a bit different.
I’ll certainly be returning for an evening meal at some stage in the future and wish the new venture all the best.
29 Frenchgate, Richmond, North Yorkshire. DL10 4HZ can be contacted on 01748 826669. It is expected to open in the evening on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights.