Excellent French / North African resto in the East
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : French, North African
Address : 204 Brick Lane, Shoreditch , London, E1 6SA, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.blanchettebricklane.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Sat: 12pm-11pm, Sun & Bank Holidays: 12pm-9pm
Closest Tube : Shoreditch Highstreet
When we visited Blanchette in Soho for the first time, we were very charmed. It was like being whisked away into a discreet bolthole in a tiny French village, with the same bric-a-brac, rustic setting and culinary panache that France's countryside is renowned for. So we were understandably excited when brothers Maxime, Malik and Yannis Alary opened a second Blanchette at the northern end of Brick Lane.
The restaurant is decorated with murals by Aldo Gigli, with décor inspired by Parisian Belle Époque, with a female nude portrait in this style dominating the bar. Taking all the best bits from its Soho sister restaurant, the stripped-back design offers a distinctly Shoreditchian edge, whilst off-cream and green paint, leafy plants and ornate floral arrangements breathe fresh country air into the space. On a Wednesday evening, the small restaurant was packed with lots of creative types, the majority of which were taking advantage of its romantic trappings for a date night.
Our waitress suggested a delicious Domaine La Mirandole Cote de Rhone, and we found the Syrah dynamic in matching with a wide variety of foods. The spiced cashews were snack food raised to the upper level, but nothing compared with the Merguez sausage rolls, which were wrapped up briouat-style in a Moroccan pastry, and served alongside a spicy harissa mayonnaise. To be honest, we're hard pressed to think of a sausage roll that pips them. There's a wide array of charcuterie and cheese, from which we chose a punchy camembert served with a caramelised onion chutney, as well as powerfully flavoured Corsican coppa.
Moving on the fish, we were very impressed with the squid en persillade with confit tomato, grilled bread and ink - it certainly did not lack flavour. The messy looking dish contained just the right combination of herbs, spices and textures. Monkfish served Moroccan-style with smoked aubergine puree and chermoula courgette was firing on all cylinders. Lamb tagine (unbelievably) was a bit more subtle, steamed with apricots, dusted with almonds and served with lebna. A pork fillet with pickled girolles, Jerusalem artichoke and truffle brought things straight back to southern France, and was likely our favourite dish of the evening.
We couldn't even imagine eating anything else after the array of food we'd sampled, so opted for a dessert cocktail instead. The desserts they had to offer were as interesting as the restaurant itself… Chilled Peach and Saffron Soup, Coconut Macaroon and Raspberry or Black Currant Financier with White Wine Sabayon or Basil Sorbet with Fresh Mango. We would certainly go back to experience the sweets, or even to repeat our lovely meal.