June 28, 2016

Patron, Kentish Town

Patron Cave à Manger sits in the heart of Tufnell Park and was founded by Jean-Francois and Tanzi Ellison.


The French-English couple, who live in Kentish Town, chose the famous Fortess Road to set up local Parisian haunt Patron.

The niche restaurant is littered with intimate bistro tables alongside its beautiful handmade marble bar, and not forgetting their trusty dog, Pippin, who potters around Patron throughout the day.


The Insider recently visited Patron to see what the venue is like first-hand and sample some of their French cuisines.


We arrived at Patron one Friday afternoon; we were impressed by the understated, elegant décor of the venue.


The monochrome interiors, the iconic wicker chairs and the cutlery laid out on the marble bar create the authentic Parisian feel throughout.


The menu offers signature French classics, such as frog legs in garlic, escargots and steak tartare, alongside a large selection of French wines.


Despite being torn for choice, we eventually settle on the frog legs in garlic butter and parsley and the French onion soup to start, then moving on to the onglet steak and, one of their signature dishes, duck confit with sides of frites and green beans for main.


Personally, having never tried frog legs prior to dining at Patron, I was a little apprehensive to try one of France’s most-loved classics.


The frog legs were, as rumoured, very similar to chicken in taste. They were succulent, tender and complemented by the trickle of lemon.


The onion soup looked thick and smelt incredible – I have it on good authority that it tasted as good as it smelt!


Our mains arrived promptly after we had finished our starters and the smell was simply divine.


The steak onglet was of a generous portion, and was covered in a garlic butter sauce, adding to the already succulent flavour.


The meat was tender, served medium, and almost melted in your mouth.


The sides, which the two of us shared, of green beans and frites were a welcomed addition.


The frites were crunchy and resembled triple-cooked chips, while the green beans were fresh and crisp and took the edge off the heavier red meat dish.



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The duck confit, which I sampled, fell off the bone as you tucked into it. The meat was flavoursome and the sweet glaze on the duck added a lot to the experience.


Finally, a triumphant third course – dessert.


As someone who is indecisive, the ‘café gourmand’ was the perfect antidote for this.


A trio of desserts: a warm chocolate brownie, hazelnut ice cream in lieu of the vanilla and a crème brûlée.


Each dessert brought a different flavour – the only thing that remained the same was how incredibly moreish they all were.


The dessert was topped off with a refreshing mint tea, which cleansed the palette and gave me a ping of energy towards the end of the meal.


Patron undoubtedly sets the bar high for authentic French food, appealing to the large French community of Kentish Town, and highlights that the British equivalents aren’t always as good as genuine French cuisine.


The Insider was keen to interview owner Tanzi Ellison to find out more about Patron and the whole thought process behind it.


When did Patron Cave à Manger open?

April 2015. We’ve just celebrated our first birthday!


What was your inspiration behind Patron?

We live in Kentish Town and absolutely love the area!


It’s become very French with the French schools opening up in the last few years, so we were keen to open a local French restaurant/wine bar!


You live locally to the restaurant. What do you love about the area?

We fell in love with Kentish Town!


It’s changed a lot even within the last year and we love it that independents are opening up in the area, such as the lovely Sarah from SK Vintage, Ladies & Gents and Jessica de Lotz on Fortess Road, Two Doors Down and Beef & Brew on Kentish Town Road, and the fabulous guys at Rose & Crown on Torriano Avenue (if you haven’t been there yet, check it out!).


Why did you choose Kentish Town to open the restaurant?

There were no other French restaurants or wine bars in the area, so it just made total sense; plus, we love the people living in Kentish Town. There’s a real mix of characters!


Tanzi, we understand that you’re the chef, is cooking your passion?

I’ve always loved cooking from a young age. I have my mum to thank a lot, as she taught me the most!


I’m passionate about cooking for family and friends whenever I can get a chance. I trained as a chef at Westminster Kingsway College, but I would say I’m definitely more of a cook than a chef!


How do you decide what goes on the menu?

It’s really inspired by our travels with my partner, Jean-Francois, through France.


Also, the ingredients we use can be seasonal from the UK or special seasonal produce direct from France from our suppliers.

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Do you change the menu often?

Yes we do. Our menu is always kept short, with only five mains chalked up on our blackboard and a selection of small plates, charcuterie, cheese and homemade desserts.


There is always one or two specials every couple of weeks that only stay on for two weeks maximum.


We tweet about the specials each time they come on our menu and write a special blog, which you can sign up to via our newsletter on our website.


Do you have a signature dish?

Absolutely! Our duck confit is extremely popular, with red wine reduction and comes with a choice of side.


I would especially recommend the truffle frites with this. And then, of course, the onglet steak with our shallot butter.


We advise this cooked rare, as it just melts in the mouth, and we refuse to cook this more than medium as it would affect the quality.


Some people don’t like that; however, we are very proud of our produce and only want the best experiences for our customers!


What makes Patron different from your previous restaurants?

Our previous restaurant, Café Gourmand, in Soho, was a lot smaller and more of a café for breakfast and lunch, and then a petit bistro at night.


Whereas our first restaurant, Mill Lane Bistro, in West Hampstead, was really our baby and we learnt a huge amount here as we were completely new to the hospitality industry.


Both were really amazing experiences and we have taken everything we have learnt from these two restaurants to create Patron, which we are very proud of.


How did you meet? We’ve heard it was 10 years this year: congratulations!

Thank you! It’s definitely been a whirlwind! We met at cooking college.


I was training and Jean-Francois had just moved to London to learn English.


We could say it was love at first sight and our love blossomed from our passion of wine, food and travel.


We were very lucky to have spent some time living in Paris and driving through France, discovering all these amazing specialities, which I am slowly introducing on our menu.


What is next for you?

Some exciting news is coming very soon but our lips are sealed right now!


You actually bought through Keatons – how was your experience with the Kentish Town team?

Amazing. We are very fortunate to have bought at the right time and the team at Keatons made it a super-smooth and enjoyable process.


Would you recommend Keatons?

Of course we would!

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