Brick Lane food + drink

Blanchette East, Brick Lane

A second East End outpost  for the three Alary brothers (their first is in Soho) with a menu that honours their French heritage, but with a North African twist, and again named after their beloved mother

From the moment you enter the Brick Lane premises you are transported to Paris at the time of the Belle Époch, with a delightful nude staring down at you knowingly from behind the inviting wooden bar where different saucisson hang cheekily from hooks. Already packed during a mid-week lunchtime, the atmosphere is frivolous and fun, but as we soon discover, the food here is to be taken very seriously indeed, it is that ground-breakingly good. Putting our faith into the chef’s hands, we are first served cheese beignets with onion confit, with the deep-fried balls melting in our mouths and offset perfectly by the sweetness of the confit. Next up is a merguez sausage roll with harissa mayonnaise, a wonderful take on a classic and one I plan on recreating at home. For our mains we shared a pork fillet with pickled giroles, cauliflower and truffle and a monkfish with smoked aubergine and chermoula corgette. The meat was unbelievably tender and the flavour combination manages creates a dish that’s more than the sum of its parts, while the fish was a reminder of how fantastic perfectly cooked monkfish can be with the vegetables bringing a delicious smokiness to the plate. Baked Moroccan eggs with peppers and flatbread came as an accompaniment but was a feast in its own right. Our charming waitress kept us amply supplied with a fabulously fruity Cote Du Rhone and as the meal drew to a close, we decided to have one last push with a selection of fine cheese. Suffice to say, it tipped us over the edge.

Blanchette East, 204 Brick Lane, E1 6SA

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