This charming Breton restaurant is something of a Richmond institution. Located at the foot of Richmond Hill, with a back window looking out over the Thames, it serves a tempting selection of buckwheat galettes and an array of fruits des mer, among other regional specialties.
The small, somewhat stuffy dining room is plainly but warmly decorated – blond floorboards and gauzy curtains – though they could do with turning the heating down a notch. But this is not a restaurant overly concerned with fashion: dishes are presented in a distinctly old fashioned manner. Soup arrives with a hunk of warm baguette on the side and a paper doily nestling under the bowl; goats cheese is served en croute with a garnish of tomato slices.
Not that any of this matters. Chez Lindsay succeeds because it provides satisfying regional French cuisine at very reasonable prices. For £6.50 you can take advantage of their lunch menu, soup of the day and a galette with your choice of filling. These crisp savory crepes are a highpoint of the menu and come filled with a selection of ingredients, from the traditionalcomplet, a combination of ham and eggs, to more complex creations involving smoked salmon and seafood. After a rich, tasty carrot and coriander soup, we enjoyed a galette St Jacques that combined scallops and leeks and a Roquefort galette with celery and walnuts.
For those wanting something more substantial, generous meaty main dishes are available at around the £12 mark and there’s a wide variety of seafood to choose from – everything from crab to lobster, from mussels to the inevitable sextet of garlic-drenched l’escargots. Garlic, unsurprisingly, is a key flavour in many of the dishes and for £15.75 you can sample Chez Lindsay’s three course cider menu, a selection of dishes all featuring the traditional Breton tipple. The measured, mainly French wine list also features a broad range of ciders, which they serve in distinctive shallow cups.
Desserts return to the pancake theme: sweet crepes filled with caramelized apples and ice cream, and the inevitable crepes suzette. As with everything at Chez Lindsay it’s basic but tasty fare, unfussy but satisfying. Though not outstanding, this is without a doubt a superior local restaurant. The service, from friendly, mainly French staff is attentive and warm, and the concentration on such an unusual regional cuisine makes it a very welcome alternative to the numerous franchise eateries that clutter the centre of Richmond.