Working Lunch review: Blanchette East's blend of Southern French and North African cuisine is a masterclass in fusion food

 
Melissa York
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Lamb tagine with apricot, almonds and lebna with saffron cous cous sneaking into the bottom (more of that later)
strong>Blanchette East


204 Brick Lane, E1

What?

A French fusion bistro and close relative of the critically-acclaimed Blanchette in Soho. While the menu changes daily, visitors can expect to find a carefully-curated cacophony of sharing dishes that champion North African flavours alongside traditional French delicacies.

Where?

The home of all things curry and vintage, Brick Lane. Its unassuming green facade and cursive script make the premises easy to mistake for a florist with a quirky line in ceramic bakeware. But to step inside is to be transported to the Parisian Belle Epoque era, where an array of houseplants perch atop rustic reclaimed furnishings.

Who?

This is the second London opening for brothers Maxime, Yannis and Malik Alary, who named the restaurants after their mother. Executive chef across both sites is Tam Storrar, a former protege of Bibendum on Fulham Road.


Saffron cous cous with tabbouleh and pomegranate yogurt

Order this...

Charcuterie and cheese kick things off. If you’re feeling peckish though, tuck into the whole roast baby chicken with a potful of taragon jus that’s so delicious, it’s drinkable. The cheese beignets with onion confit are gooey and comforting, but what sets ‘East apart from its West End counterpart are the North African dishes. Use handmade flatbreads to mop up a delicately spiced skillet of baked Moroccan eggs, with saffron cous cous and pomegranate seeds on the side. A range of dessert-inspired cocktails are on offer, but there’s an even more impressive array of robust wines from the Languedoc region and Tuscany.

Business or pleasure?

It isn’t extravagant or impressive, but a client lunch at Blanchette will mark you out as an arbiter of good taste. Sharing dishes are made for bonding and the atmosphere is intimate enough for serious business chat without the fear of being overheard.

Need to book?

No need for lunch, but probably wise for dinner. Visit blanchettelondon.co.uk or call 020 7729 7939.


The unassuming green facade of Blanchette East

The verdict:

The term “fusion food” is bandied around a lot, but it’s rarely done this well. A low-key bistro with big, ambitious flavours and a changing menu that rewards repeat visits.

One more thing...

A trip to Blanchette is a feast for the ears, too, as owner Malik Alary – who is also the founder of sound design company La Musique du Faubourg – pipes in his customised playlist of nu-disco and funk soul classics. You can get into the mood by searching for Blanchette Soho on SoundCloud or clicking on the Blog & Music tab on the website.

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