Solo Dining at Maison Francois – charming and chic

Maison FrancoisNow that I am back to living my sex in the city lifestyle, well I moved into the city the other part is still under review. I went out for oysters. I know there’s that whole thing about only eating oysters in month’s beginning with the letter r in it but we are still living through a pandemic, so hush! I just can’t explain it but I wanted some. During lockdown, I had bought an oyster knife with every intention of shucking my own but then I thought what if I slice off my thumb. I need my thumb so when I saw Frank’s, the bar in the restaurant, hosted an oyster happy hour Tuesday to Saturday with oysters £1 a pop – you know it, I was on my way not even torrential downpours and my piss poor sense of direction could stop me!


Maison Francois is located on a little side street off Picadilly. Upstairs is the restaurant and downstairs is the bar – all dark and sexy. The welcome friendly. I didn’t have a booking, just escaped the heavens opening up and asked for a table for one. No issue until I said I was here for oysters. Oh, that’s downstairs in the bar was the response.


I had come for oysters and after shimmying my masked face across the upper floor and down the stairs to the bar. I sat down, squirted on sanitiser and when the waiter came over I proudly announced “12 happy hour oysters please along and some fizzy water”. The bar was buzzing. Then a different waiter came over and said sorry – we are out of oysters. At first, I thought this was a ruse to get me to buy more expensive oysters. No no – they were all out of oysters – none in the restaurant. With 15 minutes before oyster happy hour was to end the mood turned a dark shade of vexing. Did I brave buckets of rain weather for this? Recalibrate I thought and head upstairs. Up a went, profuse apologies from the front of house, table for one arranged and menu placed in front of me.


When you want oysters and can’t have them, everything else seems to be a bit blah. Having said that I soon perked up with a mix your own Kir – I loved that. I’ve often despised the over sweet kirs I’ve had in my time.

Now that I am being good with my gluten intolerance and not cheating, I asked the waiter what I could have and luckily for me the fries are fried with anything so are safe. I had the chicken.

The chicken was perfect.

I even had pudding – a scoop of calvados sorbet and chocolate ice cream. I know super weird combo but I love mixing stuff up. My phone ran out of battery so no pics of pudding.

Baby in the corner? Quite the opposite, I had a great table looking out on the action. The first table I was offered was next to a family with small babies and I asked to be moved and was accommodated without fuss.

Pricey? Not really, it’s pretty reasonable although the selection of wine by the glass is very limited and the main courses are about £15 upwards.

Where? 34 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6DF

How? A hop and skip from Piccadilly Circus tube, a brisk 5 minutes walk.

Open when? Tues to Saturday and oyster happy hour is 5 till 7 daily.


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