Bleeding Heart’s long–established and extremely popular French Restaurant offers superb food in historical surroundings within the centre of London. It takes its name from the yard where it is located which, according to the history books, was named after a 17th century beauty, Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who was found murdered there. The warm, wood-panelled Restaurant is an ideal venue for both an important business lunch (customers cross the City of London for its famed Cheeseboard) and for a romantic ‘diner a deux’ – it was voted by ‘The Times’ as the most romantic restaurant in London.
Our busy buzzy French Bistro with its striking 19th Century French wine posters and eccentric Vineyard Sculpture combines a warm ambience and cheerful yet professional service with traditional French dishes ranging from Coq au Vin and Steak Frites to Lapin à la moutarde and Navarin of Organic Lamb, plus a great-value list of 450 wines by the bottle and more than a dozen by the glass. From Spring to Autumn the Bistro has a secluded court yard terrace sitting more than 30.
The Bleeding Heart French Bistro is one of a gathering of gems located in the heart of London, offering a classic and modern French cuisine accompanied by a fine selection of wines.
All the traditional French dishes can be found on the Bleeding Heart Bistro menu from escargots to steak haché. Prized by Bleeding Heart is the award-winning wine list boasting 450 different bottles. The love of which is shown by the abundance of 19th-century French wine posters and decorative empty wine bottles.
Bleeding Heart Bistro is equipped with a large outdoor terrace covered with a red awning and adorned with a vineyard sculpture to maximise the French ambience. Farringdon Tube Station is a 2-minute walk away.
The Tavern is our Gastropub, open from 7am to 11 pm. Its history stretches back to 1746, when its slogan was ‘drunk for a penny and dead drunk for two pence’. That spirit of good cheer continues today with real ales from Adnams, an extensive range of wines by the glass and a great–value menu ranging from a very generous Full English Breakfast with warm baguettes and croissants from our own bakery, to Spit- Roasted Suckling Pigs , Free-range Chickens and a noted Suffolk Lamburger.
The first record of the Bleeding Heart Tavern, on the corner of the Bleeding Heart Yard and Charles street (as Greville street was then called) is in the 1746 edition of the London Register of Innkeepers and Alehouse Keepers.
The licensee was listed as one Roger Hebden, “a gentleman with no criminal
convictions.” At that time Charles Street, had virtually a tavern on every
corner – indeed Holborn boasted one tavern for every five private dwellings.
Drunkenness and Debauchery were rife, and some taverns boasted their customers could be “drunk for a penny, and dead drunk for two pence”.
Some local taverns offered a back room with “free straw” where drunken customers were laid out end to end to sleep off until they were ready to carouse once more.
The Bleeding Heart Tavern continued to trade until 1946. In that year the Tavern relinquished its license to become The Windsor Grill, and Charles Street was renamed Greville Street.
Lady Elizabeth Hatton was the toast of 17th Century London society. The widowed daughter-in-law of the famous merchant Sir Christopher Hatton (one-time consort of Queen Elizabeth 1), Lady Elizabeth was young, beautiful and very wealthy. Her suitors were many and varied, and included a leading London Bishop and a prominent European Ambassador. Invitations to her soirees in Hatton Garden were much sought after.
Her Annual Winter Ball, on January 26, 1662, was one of the highlights of the London social season. Halfway through the evening’s festivities, the doors to Lady Hatton’s grand ballroom were flung open. In strode a swarthy gentleman, slightly hunched of shoulder, with a clawed right hand. He took her by the hand, danced her once around the room and out through the double doors into the garden. A buzz of gossip arose. Would Lady Elizabeth and the European Ambassador (for it was he) kiss and make up, or would she return alone? Neither was to be. The next morning her body was found in the cobblestone courtyard – torn limb from limb, with her heart still pumping blood onto the cobblestones. Henceforth, the yard was to be known as The Bleeding Heart Yard.
Charles Dickens and the Bleeding Heart
Charles Dickens knew Bleeding Heart well. In ‘Little Dorrit’ he wrote of folks in the yard, saying ‘The more practical of the Yard’s inmates abided by the tradition of the murder’. But he went on to document another Bleeding Heart story: ‘The gentler and more imaginative inhabitants, including the whole of the tender sex, were loyal to the legend of a young lady imprisoned in her own chamber by a cruel father for remaining true to her own true lover – but it was objected to by the murderous party that this was the invention of a spinster and romantic, still lodging in the Yard’.
Today the Bleeding Heart’s long–established and extremely popular French Restaurant offers superb food in historical surroundings within the centre of London. It takes its name from the yard where it is located which, according to the history books, was named after a 17th century beauty, Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who was found murdered there. The warm, wood-panelled Restaurant is an ideal venue for both an important business lunch (customers cross the City of London for its famed Cheeseboard) and for a romantic ‘diner a deux’ – it was voted by ‘The Times’ as the most romantic restaurant in London.
Bleeding Heart’s French Restaurant is the flagship of the group, which offers modern French food, ‘impeccable service’, an award-winning ‘encyclopaedic’ wine list and above all a uniquely welcoming ambience.
Executive Chef Julian Marshall
With over 25 years experience under his toque, our Executive head chef Julian Marshall
has worked along-side some of Britain’s best chefs including Marco Pierre White,
Gordon Ramsay, Anton Mosimann, Gary Holihead and Anton Edelmann to name a few.
He is responsible for our fine-dining restaurant, French Bistro, Anglo-Saxon Tavern and on site bakery.