Franny’s Pop-up was only meant to be temporary. Opening in Soho on 5th November 2010, it was due to close at the start of February, however its success has allowed it to take its place in London’s West End permanently. It occupies a huge space on Frith Street, a venue that was previously home to the chain Il Bertorelli. Upstairs there is a private dining space for 80-100 people and on the ground floor a massive area for bar and restaurant.
I came across it over the Christmas holidays when I was craving a burger for lunch. Extended sale shopping meant lunch had been postponed to 3pm, and so many places had stopped serving. We stumbled across Franny’s and were welcomed in by a very smiley man who seemed pleased to accommodate us and all our cumbersome shopping bags.
The restaurant was pretty empty so the manager came and chatted to us for ten minutes which was nice, and distracted me from my rumbling stomach. He explained about his ambitions for Franny’s and the history behind the pop-up venue. They will still close temporarily in February, while the place is refurbished and will reopen redesigned as a hip diner, taking influence from New York. They hope to bring something a bit new to Soho.
The menu is made up of classics and familiar favourites: pizza, pasta and burgers. When it reopens it will be focusing more on grills, and hopes to have a large open kitchen in the centre of the restaurant, an idea that is tried and tested and seems to involve as well as reassure customers. Prices are reasonable, £6 for burger, £2-3 for sides. I chose the Italian Job burger that came with a delicious foccacia bun, pesto, crispy bacon and mozzarella, it was better than I expected and made from good fresh meat. The chips were OK, but didn’t quite satisfy my cravings, and the courgette fritti were a massive disappointment, obviously not freshly made; they were hard with a gritty tasteless batter.
Franny’s has promise and with such a fabulous venue at their disposal they could be one of Soho’s newest hot spots. Watch out for the refurbished restaurant sometime in 2011!