New Chelsea bistro from Claude and Lucy Bosi
New Chelsea bistro from Claude and Lucy Bosi
On their new Fulham Road bistro, working together and their life in Clapham
Top chef Claude Bosi and his wife Lucy have embarked on their first joint venture with the launch this March of Josephine, inspired by the traditional bouchons of Lyon.
Claude tells us: “It’s the opportunity to bring to life something which we have wanted to do for so long. Lyon is my home town and is a wonderful city for food, with big and bold flavours and great local dishes. Everything about Josephine is exciting, we have never done a bistro before, and the location and the team are really special.”
Will Smith, previously of Arbutus and Michelin-starred Wild Honey, has been appointed as general manager; Matteo Degola, who has worked with Claude at his other restaurants for the last two years, will lead the kitchen team.
Josephine will offer bistro classics such as French onion soup and rabbit in mustard sauce as well as a special Lyonnaise offering with ‘Menu des Canut’ – named after the French term for Lyonnais silk and lace weavers: dishes will include ‘cervelle de canut,’ a blend of white cheese, herbs and crème fraiche; and sausages baked in brioche with a Beaujolais sauce.
It’s a personal project for them – the restaurant is named after Claude’s late grandmother. Says Claude: “My grandmother was a huge influence in my life, she was a strong and wonderful woman and an excellent cook. I spent a lot of time with her as my parents were busy running a small restaurant. She shaped our lives.
“Everything on the Menu des Canute is a tribute to the dishes she would have made and loved, they are properly Lyonnaise. She made an especially good quenelle…”
The restaurant will also offer the bouchon wine concept where you only pay for what you drink. “We have seen this when we travelled in France and think that it’s a great way to let guests choose how much to drink. If they are drinking house wine we will just leave the bottle on their table for them. No interruptions or negotiations about whether to order a bottle or a glass – drink what you fancy, and pay for just that.”
While Lucy has always been involved in the business, this is the first restaurant they are launching together. Lucy was previously on the founding team of restaurant reservation platform toptable, which at the time revolutionised how people could book restaurants and she was instrumental in its growth. She then joined Claude as a behind-the-scenes partner across all of their businesses, overseeing marketing & communications and HR.
So, what’s it been like to work on this project? Lucy laughs: “We are still married! Joking aside it’s been great, our strengths are very different – Claude is obviously the one in the kitchen and creating the dishes but we are both passionate about food and so the menu creation is the result of us just chatting about some of our favourite dishes.”
Claude adds: “Lucy has always worked with me but a little more in the background. Neither of us could do the other’s job so it works well…”
So they work together amicably – what about the kitchen at home? Who cooks? Claude does… “I am the cook – unless it’s salad or roast potatoes as hers are the best!”
Home is Clapham, where they have lived for several years. “We love how close we are to the centre of town but that we have a bit of green around us. Where we are has a neighbourhood feeling, we have a local butcher and fishmonger and we love that. There are some great restaurants and pubs nearby too.”
They are both flat out working on the launch of the restaurant but when they do get time off, they love long walks with their two young children. Claude also enjoys nothing more than a pint of bitter and a Sunday roast in a pub; Lucy’s ideal Sunday would be mudlarking, although they admit it is not something they can do very often.
Understandably, there hasn’t been much time off recently. In February 2023 Claude, alongside Samyukta Nair (of LSL Capital), launched Socca Bistro in Mayfair, based on their love of the food from the French Riviera. September saw the opening of Brooklands by Claude Bosi at The Peninsula, which has just achieved an incredible accolade, going straight into the Michelin Guide with two stars. Claude’s restaurant at Bibendum has also retained its two stars. Celebrations then in the Bosi household.
But obviously it has been a tough time for hospitality and Claude would like to see the government take some positive action in support of the industry. He adds: “That aside our hope is that our restaurants can continue to thrive and that customers want to come. There is nothing better than customers returning to your restaurant – we really hope Josephine will feel like the kind of place that locals want to return to.”
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