A little corner of Paris in Georgian London…
We’ve been following the very successful Huguenot Festival in Spitalfields this month and came across what sounded like a promising French bistro in the unlikely setting of Brick Lane. Well why not? Just because Brick Lane has been synonymous with curry houses for the past couple of decades doesn’t mean things can’t change.
It wasn’t too long to wait before birthday celebrations gave the perfect excuse to go and try Chez Elles Bistroquet. Many of the people eating here are French, everyone that works here is French, so be prepared to be transported to a lovely cosy, local haunt in the Bastille or Le Marais…one that only you and a few other locals have discovered.
Twinkling fairy lights give a warm glow to the vintage interior – think Clingancourt flea market finds, brocante bird cages and art nouveau tiles. Sit at randomly matched tables and chairs as you trawl around chalked maps of the French wine regions on the blackboard. Recycled Pastis bottles abound – renewed as vases and water carafes and more…
We loved the menu, authentic bistro favourites made from the best ingredients sourced locally, or where provenance dictates, direct from France. Planche Campagnard, comprising of homemade rillettes de canard, terrine de porc, jambonne de Bayonne, and mini cornichons was a fabulous starter to share. Two of us followed with the Confit du Canard which was sooo good with a delicious ratatouille and the birthday guest had the entrecôte, also excellent. A light, crisp, white Côte du Rhone – not so often seen on the menu…followed by the CduR red for our main course.
We retired to the bar for our pudding. Named after the most famous Spitalfields textile designer herself, Anna Maria Garthwaite, the Anna Maria Apple tart was absolutely melt in the mouth divine.
At the bar we had a chance to chat to the owners Nadia, from Reims and Lili, from a restaurateur family background in Perpignan. They met while working on the Eurostar, both are foodies and they came to London and lived in the flat upstairs for a few years before the curry restaurant at 45 closed and their dreams of opening a restaurant were realised…love it!
Warm welcome, great chats, cosy atmosphere and delicious food – we’ll be back!
Chez Elles Bistroquet
45 Brick Lane, London