The auld alliance is alive and well in Brick Lane

Blanchette East restaurant review

Scotland and France have a long history of friendship and trade agreements and after my visit to Blancette East I am more than happy to agree to anything with this lovely little French outpost.

Blanchette first opened in Soho back in 2013, I have never visited, so when they opened on Brick Lane I was very excited. It’s a family affair, run by three brothers and named after their maman.

We visited on Saturday night and although it was busy, we were able to walk in and get a table. The restaurant is split over two floors and from the street it looks beautiful. The bottom has counters running the length of the window and a central counter. Upstairs, there are two smaller counters, one at the front and back of the space, a private room and the rest is filled with tables.

As ever, in small plate restaurants, tables for two are never big enough for water, drinks and multiple plates, but that is my only complaint. I am in love with my new neighbour.

Service is friendly, smart and unrushed. We are well looked after, questions are answered with confident knowledge, checks are made that all is ok, not only by our waitress but by the brother (alas, I don’t know which brother, I haven’t stalked extensively) running the dining room.
The menu is French small plates with a north African influence. We start from the snack menu and order the cheese beignets with onion confit. These are little bundles of fried joy, the texture is beautiful although I’d have liked more cheese. The confit is excellent.

Next is a splendid Merguez sausage roll with a side of harissa mayonnaise. The pastry is flaky,the sausage sweet and spicy, I’d like more sausage, I’m greedy.

We also try the pissaladiere. I have no idea what this is but when I ask the response is enthusiastic and I don’t take much persuading when it comes to food. These little pastry bases are topped with more of those lovely onions, juicy anchovies and black olives, simple yet perfect.

From the mains, it was a difficult choice but somehow we managed to settle on the couscous, guinea fowl and haddock.

Saffron couscous with tabbouleh and pomegranate yoghurt. This was light and fresh, the golden raisins and the toasted almond added good texture.
Warm smoked haddock with peas, potato, bacon and grated egg. This is served with a mustard cream which for me overwhelmed the dish a little. I loved the sweetness of the peas and the sweet, sticky cubes of bacon.
My hero dish was guinea fowl with gem lettuce, smoked cheese, grape and hazelnut. I loved every mouthful, the bird was beautifully cooked. All the flavours married in perfect harmony.
For dessert, we shared the Blackcurrant Financier with white wine sabayon. It was excellent. If you, go don’t share it. The outside was crisp, the inside moist and the tart currant filling balanced well. The sabayon delicate.
Blanchette was a joy, marred only slightly by an argument between two tables over the noise coming from one.
I’m hoping this alliance remains in place.

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