The Old Bookbinders

It’s taken three attempts to get into The Old Bookbinders in Jericho for dinner, such is its popularity, regardless of the day of the week.

But as soon as you walk in you can see why. It’s not just that the place is packed with rosy-cheeked diners enjoying the authentic French food, great wine, or the many propping up the bar, backpacks and briefcases on the floor, bikes parked outside, but the convivial and all-embracing atmosphere that attracts them, like bees to a honey pot.

The lovely staff at The Old Bookbinders

And yet, hidden away in the back streets of Jericho, The Old Bookbinders resides imperiously in its solitude, a far cry from Walton Street’s parade of wine bars, restaurants and pubs, like a hidden jewel glittering away waiting to be discovered.

Which means that those in the know do so joyfully, flocking to the hugely popular weekly quiz and open mic nights revelling in its notoriety, safe in the knowledge that they are in on the secret.

Les Escargots De Bourgogne – Snails at The Old Bookbinders

We too were immediately intoxicated (nothing to do with the excellent Negronis), and having booked this time, fought our way to the bar through the throngs of Friday night revellers, and were shown to our table immediately, winding our way to an intimate space in the main dining room, although several further rooms transpired around the back, complete with pianos.

Unashamedly French bistro, the red checked place mats and stripy staff t-shirts are all very tongue-in-cheek, but ensure that the bonhomie is all encapsulating, the menus following suit – all the classics spread out in front of you, like a French culinary hall of fame.


But first an homage to the incredible Negronis we sampled, beautifully made, they set us off at a pace, before we moved onto some lovely red wine from the extensive vino list.

Then the Escargots De Bourgogne (6 or 12), served piping hot and doused in butter and garlic, the snails tender without being chewy and pretty exemplary really, a lovely start to the meal.

The coarse mushroom pate with a wild mushroom chutney and toasted bread (Roses du Matin) was dense and rustic, and some French onion soup, always a must – the Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée (£9.50) thick, dark and filling as expected, if slightly lacking in depth of flavour.

Beef bourguignon at The Old Bookbinders

As for the L’Etable – red wine beef bourguignon (£17.50) with new potatoes, smoked bacon, garden vegetables and bread – a hearty, unfussy casserole which hit all the right notes in terms of soft meat and rich flavours.

Concluding with a wonderful round tarte au citron meringuée- its sharpness offsetting the soft, sweet meringue, and a traditional crème brûlée infused with vanilla and scattered with raspberries, we were replete, fulfilled and consumed with entente cordiale.

What a wonderfully eccentric addition to Jericho’s burgeoning restaurant scene, and with some strong French competition up the road from the likes of Brasserie Blanc and Pierre Victoire, The Old Bookbinders is more than holding its own, proudly reigning supreme there since 2011 with great aplomb.

So go, but make sure you book, because there’s a constant stream of Francophiles all wanting a taste of real Gallic food who are already one step ahead of you.

The Old Bookbinders, Victor Street, Jericho