Josephine Bouchon

315A Fulham Road, London, SW10 9QH, United Kingdom

Back to search results

Josephine Bouchon opened in March 2024. It is in the same ownership stable as fine dining restaurants Bibendum and Brooklands, but is in a very different style. Owner Claude Bosi is from Lyon, and bouchons are a part of Lyon history. Serving hearty dishes such as sausages, andouillette, pates and pike quenelle, bouchons were originally inns that served silk workers in the 17th and 18th centuries. These days there are twenty certified bouchons, such as Café Comptoir Abel. Josephine, incidentally, is the name of Claude Bosi’s grandmother. By the way, there is no restaurant phone number, just an email address on their website (and, inevitably, an Instagram account). The head chef here is Matteo de Degola, but despite his Italian background he seems at home cooking traditional dishes from Lyon.

The a la carte menu prices starters at £9 - £19, main courses £21 to £44, side dishes £6 to £9 (with gratin dauphinoise at £18 to share), cheese at £18 and desserts £8 - £12. There was also a three-course set menu at £29.50. There is also a dish of the day on a blackboard, and my dining companion was very impressed with his blanquette de veau (£15.50) from that board. The dining room has very small, tightly packed tables. Two menu cards could scarcely fit on the table, so when main dishes and sides arrive and have to be fitted on the table waiters need to be good at geometry. 

The mostly, but not exclusively, French wine list had 230 labels and ranged in price from £28 to £999, with a median price of £117 and an average markup to retail price of 2.6 times, which is very reasonable by London standards. Sample references were Côtes Du Rhône Blanc Luminaris Domaine La Luminalle 2021 at £49 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £24, Oregon Viognier Cristom Vineyards Louise Vineyard 2020 at £83 compared to its retail price of £35, and the very enjoyable Johann Michel Cornas 2017 at £98 for a wine that will set you back £39 in the high street. For those with the means, there was E. Guigal Ex Voto Blanc 2009 at £355 compared to its retail price of £300, and Hermitage Jean Louis Chave 2001 at £650 for a wine whose current market value is £584. You can also have house wine poured out and you're your consumption of it measured on a ruler: you pay for the length that you drink.

A few “grattons” were offered to nibble as you look at the menu. These are a traditional Lyon snack similar to pork scratchings, made from pork, salt and fat, and maybe a little pepper. The menu was a la carte and had a number of Lyon specialities plus some more generic dishes such as steak tartare. Plates of the day were available also, in this case blanquette de veau with pilaf rice.

The steak tartare (£10) was enjoyable, coming simply with toast and had meat that was not chopped too fine and was well seasoned (14/20). My companion’s salad Lyonnaise looked lovely and was pronounced an excellent example of the breed. The best dish of the meal was sweetbreads and morels with sauce (£44). The sweetbreads were from near Verona in Italy, and were very good, being light in texture and being complemented well by the excellent morsel. The sauce was quite deeply flavoured but the earthy mushrooms provided some element of balance to quite a rich dish. This was skilful cooking based on good quality ingredients (easily 16/20).

Cheese was supplied by La Fromagerie and came on a wooden board; in a nice touch, this was left at the table for diners to help themselves. For sure, cheese is a relatively expensive ingredient in restaurants, but some restaurants seem quite mean in the amount they serve or in restricting the number of different cheeses that you can try. Here you could have as much as you want. The cheese that we tried were St Felicien double cream cheese from the Rhone-Alpes, Chabichou goat cheese, Langres cow milk cheese from Champagne-Ardenne, Laguiole cow milk pressed cheese from the Aubrac plateau, and Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese from Auvergne. All were in good condition, served with more of the very pleasant country bread.

Lemon meringue tart (£8) had good pastry and a particularly good balance of lemon flavour. For some reason, this classic dessert has gone out of fashion in London dining rooms and it is good to see it back, and being executed so well here (15/20). Coffee was the excellent Brasil Yellow Bourbon from Difference Coffee (£4.50).

Service was friendly, led by Will Smith (formerly of Arbutus and Wild Honey) and the bill came to £182 per person. Admittedly this was with cheese as an extra course, a nice bottle of red wine and glasses of champagne and dessert wine. Of course, you could opt for the £29.50 set lunch to keep the bill down, but if you went a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be around £90 with service. 

Overall, this was a very enjoyable experience, the culinary levels here being a lot higher than most London attempts at French bistros. To be sure the tables are small and the bill not small, but this is lovely food from a restaurant that delivers an experience that really does feel like a Lyon bouchon, and a very good one at that. The packed dining room on a Wednesday lunch reflects that successful formula.

Add a comment


User comments

  • Chris B

    We ate there on Wednesday evening and, whilst I agree with your food review, I have to emphasise your comments on table size. These are the smallest and closest tables I’ve ever seen in London. On the LHS wall of the restaurant there is no gap at all between what are tiny tables. Leaving the table to visit the bathroom requires you to move the table into the gangway yourself - and hope that you don’t manage to sweep off any items from your neighbours’ table. A cheeseboard could not fit on the table. I totally understand maximising “covers” but this layout won’t help attract returning locals. That, coupled with the room temperature (hot) and the acoustics (deafening) made this evening visit less than enjoyable. Lunch may well be a less hectic and better call.