Frequently Asked Questions
1. I am trying to be careful, is French food too rich?
French food can be rich, that is true, but there are ways to select dishes that are suitable to a calorie watch approach. Whether you are choosing from our Plats du Jour on the blackboard or from our main menu, it is possible to have a “featherweight” 3 course meal at French Living (“plats plume” en Français!) Our waiters are knowledgeable and can guide you in your choice. You may even specify adjustments to make your meal suit your needs (steamed instead of sautéed potato, no fries but more salad instead, salad with no dressing, sauce in a separate jug etc.)
2. Do you source your ingredients from France?
We take trips to France every 6 to 8 weeks to re-stock on essential ingredients without which our cuisine could simply not be French (herbs, spices, Ebly, T55 flour, Sarrasin flour, Guérande salt, Choucroute, mustard etc.) We have very good local suppliers for fresh produce we have delivered every day (fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish)
3. I only have limited time at lunch; do I have time to eat?
Only 30 or 45 minutes to eat? No problem. If you are on limited time, the best thing is to tell your waiter when you sit down. He will make sure your timescale is met by advising against dishes that would take too long to prepare, and he will make the kitchen aware of your time constraints.
4. The show starts at 7pm, can I be there in time?
We are quite used to serving people who need to be at the Theatre by 7pm, even if you cannot be with us until 6pm. We are open from 5 pm and all day Saturdays. If you are on limited time, the best thing is to tell your waiter when you sit down. He will make sure your timescale is met by advising against dishes that would take too long to prepare.
5. I have a gluten allergy, can you cater for me?
We have noticed an increase of requests for gluten free meals in the past few years, so we are trying to make as many dishes as possible gluten free as standard. Sometimes the dish you would like to order is not gluten free in its standard form, but our chefs are able to adjust it to make it suitable. Simply ask when you arrive, or, even better, when you book.
6. I want to bring a large party to French Living, is it possible?
We have catered for parties of up to 45 people. Experience shows that the best way to look after a party of 10 or more is to have the food pre-ordered. We then produce cards with your name and choices on the table, the dishes you want are all available, we don’t disturb your conversations when the plates come out of the kitchen (no waiters wandering aimlessly shouting: “who’s having the lamb?”), and no time wasted taking the order. A deposit of £10 per person is needed to secure large table bookings, but the pre-order is not required until 2 days before the event.
7. We are celebrating a special birthday, can you make a cake?
For a party of 10 or more, we are happy to make a cake for your party. We can even discuss the type of cake with you. If your have ordered from our 3 course set menus there may be no additional charge; the cake is treated as the dessert course.
8. Who owns French Living?
French Living is a family business founded in 1994 by Stephane Luiggi and his English wife Louise.
9. Are children welcome?
Children are always welcome in restaurants in France, so the same applies of course to French Living. We have a £5.95 Under 12’s menu with smaller portions of the Plats du Jour on the blackboard, with possible adjustments (no sauce, pommes frites etc.), ice cream and a soft drink.
10. Do you do gift vouchers?
We sell gift vouchers. They have a face value of £10. They can be exchanged for café/restaurant meals, cheese or wine from the shop. They cannot be exchanged for cash. Vouchers may be purchased at our premises or ordered from our website, where a billing address and a different delivery address may be used.
11. Do you have special events?
We have Discovery Evenings three times a year (Winter, Spring and Summer). They are held over 2 days (Wednesday and Thursday). The evening, which spans between 7:30 and 10:45pm, is designed to make you discover a region of France with a 5 course menu (aperitif + amuses bouche, starter + wine 1, main course + wine 2, cheese + wine 3, dessert with wine 4, coffee). The price is £55 with £10 deposit (Booking is essential)
12. Where do you park to visit French Living?
Blue badge holders can park on King Street and Queen Street. The closest car parks are Trinity Square, Upper Parliament Street and Victoria Centre (2 minutes walk)
13. I am a wheelchair user; can I eat at French Living?
The restaurant operates on 2 floors: ground floor and basement. We recommend wheelchair users to request a ground floor table at time of booking. Please note the toilets are situated in the basement, which may be difficult for some. There is a very well looked after public toilet 50 metres down the road on Greyhound Street, open every day until 7:45pm.
14. Are all your chefs French?
Yes. And they love to make everything from scratch using fresh ingredients. Many chefs don’t hesitate using ready made frozen foods (particularly desserts, cakes, potato and vegetable garnishes) … ours never do!
15. Do you charge extra for service?
If your table is of 5 diners and above, or if you order after 7pm, 10% service will be shown on your bill.
16. I have a special bottle of wine, can I bring it to drink with my meal at French Living?
We do not normally authorise that. Exceptionnally, we will accept to open your own bottle in exchange for a corkage fee, but the occasion and the wine have to be extra special!
17. Do you need to order vegetables separately?
All our main courses are served with vegetable garnish and a starchy garnish (eg: Vichy Carrot + Potato Dauphinois; Leek Fondue + Rice Pilaf etc.) You may order additional portions of vegetables. We find that people who particularly love Pommes Sarladaises, or Gratin Dauphinois like to order an extra side dish.
18. Do I have to vacate my table after a certain time?
If you have ordered a Plat du Jour from the blackboard we need the table vacated by 8:15pm. Sometimes when you book a table for a busy day, we might have so many bookings already that we can only book additional tables before or after existing bookings. If that is the case we might advise you that your table will be needed by a certain time. If nothing is said to you at time of booking there is no time limit.
19. Is there a bar area where we can have a drink before sitting at our table?
No. We make every effort to have your table available for you when you arrive, so you can be sitting at your table enjoying a pre-dinner drink.
20. How do I know you serve authentic French cuisine?
If you are not familiar with a different country and its culture it can be difficult to assess the authenticity of a restaurant. Most restaurants adapt their menus to what they believe is the English taste. Not us. We believe our English friends deserve to be served like a French diner… and they are grateful for it. We pride ourselves on being the only restaurant where French diners feel at home. Not a day goes without French nationals visiting our establishment. To some of them French Living is a cure against home sickness! At French Living we are French, we don’t pretend.