French Franks is an enduring feature of Newport; a town where new establishments pop into view more often than Kerry Katona’s tongue at a paparazzi convention.
Way back, when this website was in its stone age, Matt and Cat reviewed this established eatery and were favourably impressed by the quick and friendly service and the excellent range of sandwich fillings. Since then, the venue has changed hands so Matt and Cat visited one lunchtime to see if it was plus ça change (plus c’est la même chose).
Matt and Cat fortuitously chose one of the only sunny days of summer 2011 to have their lunch al fresco at French Franks. Lured by proclamations of cream tea with a hot drink for £3.50, M&C entered the cafe to see what else was on offer. As before, there was a a choice of bread and a comprehensive list of sandwich fillings plus, for the hard-of-thinking, some pre-combined options. Cat made her choice first, and asked for an Italian wrap: mozzerella, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, chicken and extra salad leaves. Matt had a baguette filled with ‘deluxe’ crispy bacon, chicken and avocado. Both had apple juice. The lunches were prepared while they waited which meant that, if necessary, Cat could specify no cucumber and Matt could reject raw onion.
Italian chicken wrap £3.20
Chicken baguette £4.50
Apple juice 2 x £2
They took their lunches and parked at a table with a view of the historic St Thomas church. It was probably a blessing that the table was not in the sun as, on a hot day, it’s likely that the heat would be desiccating.
Cat’s wrap was delightfully flavoursome; the ingredients enhanced by fresh aromatic torn basil leaves – far superior to the sprinkled dry herbs she has sometimes encountered. Matt was similarly impressed: plentiful crispy bacon made a good combination with the chunks of lean chicken. The perfectly fresh baguette was just as it should be: soft on the inside but with plenty of crunch on the crust.
As it was a Friday, Matt and Cat enjoyed their lunches watching the activity at the farmers’ market. Punters were purchasing eggs; vegetables were being scrutinised and after they had finished their first course, Matt and Cat bought cupcakes at nearby Miss Dotty’s, as they often do. These delicious and good-value cutesy cakelets were the perfect finish to their meal.
French Franks has occupied the same position in Newport’s town square for years. With its latest proprietors maintaining – and even improving on – the service and food, it’s likely that this stalwart will be there for a while to come.
UPDATE: French Franks has now (2013) opened another branch in Ryde, at the top of Union Street. There’s no need for a separate review as the same great food and service is on offer in Ryde – even Cat’s beloved coffee froyo.
French Franks, Newport & Ryde