French cuisine "gaining ground in Britain"

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters Life!) - French cuisine is back in fashion in Britain thanks to television cooking shows but the country’s appetite for Indian and British fare seems to be waning, according to a survey.

The number of people dining out at French restaurants increased 57 percent over the last six months, the survey of customers at online booking service showed, while reservations at Indian and British eateries declined by more than 30 percent.

The website said popular television shows like “Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets” and “Masterchef” had inspired more people to indulge in French fare.

“It’s not just dinner menus that are proving popular either -- continental breakfasts, Parisian-style light lunches and champagne suppers are all popular choices at the moment,” said Celia Pronto, Managing Director of Bookatable.

Frederic Ollier, director of London’s Le Bouchon Breton restaurant, said his customer numbers had steadily increased over the last few months.

“Classic French dishes such as poussin roti and steak tartar are some of our menu favourites but we’ve also seen an increase in orders for more extravagant dishes such as oysters,” he said.

The British are also serving up more French fare at home, the survey said. Tesco, the country’s biggest retailer, posted a 27 percent year-on-year increase in French food sales earlier this month, while market research group Kantar World panel said in February that sales of French ready meals and desserts had climbed 16 percent over the past year.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison