BY ANN CASTLE
As you meander along the Dickensian Artillery Passage in Spitalfields, East London, you can hardly imagine that you’re about to be transported to Brittany, but stop at number 14, open the door to L’Ami Malo and transported you will be.
Friendly staff greet you into its warm ambience, with stylish contemporary, decor, note the long cylindrical down lighters over each table and a mellow sound track playing in the background, this creperie is a perfect place for an intimate lunch or dinner.
Don’t let the term creperie fool you into thinking this is just a café. L’Ami Malo is a fine restaurant serving reasonably-priced galettes (similar to a crepe or pancake), savoury and sweet. Here, the traditional humble crepe is elevated into an elegant freshly prepared delight, using quality ingredients including gluten-free buckwheat flour imported from France, with a seasonal changing menu.
A lunch menu of two courses for £12.00 or three for £15.00 is also a keenly priced midday escape from a hectic working day.
We opted for the a la carte menu, starting with the smoked salmon and avocado maki rolls – delicately rolled strips of thin pancake packed full of flavour, along with the buckwheat goats cheese croquettes with a honey and thyme dressing. Not only were the flavours sublime but they were works of art.
For main course, the smoked ham and duck egg galette with Comte cheese was a perfect Breton match with one of the finest French ciders served here. The slow-cooked ox cheek in red wine was wonderfully tender, served, (not with a galette) but on buckwheat polenta and crispy kale with intense flavoursome veg, accompanied by their pale dry rose, La Brossette Val De Loire.
For dessert the talented chef in the open kitchen, obliged and made as a selection of crepes in order that we could sample four of the options on offer, our favourites, the caramelised sugar with tangerine zest and cointreau and the banana and peanut, all were served with a side of salted caramel and chocolate ice cream.
Don’t miss L’Ami Malo’s Le Moulin speakeasy bar which is tucked away at the back of the restaurant, also accessed by its own side door, showcasing seasonal cocktails and craft ciders from Brittany and Normandy.
14 Artillery Passage E1 7LJ