Monday, 4 March 2013

Little Paris on Mare Street

On Friday, I went to the very recently opened Le Bouchon Fourchette on Mare Street in Hackney. I love Hackney, and Mare Street in particular has some great places along it, although there's no denying that this new restaurant is at the more 'rough and ready' end of Mare Street. However, hopefully this is a sign of things to come, as a decent neighbourhood restaurant is definitely something that's lacking.

Stolen from Le Bouchon's facebook page.. sorry!
The restaurant itself is decorated in a very 'on-trend' way, all stripped back and bare with  reclaimed(?) furniture, plain walls and a concrete floor. It was simple but I liked it and the buzzing atmosphere all evening on Friday indicated that so did other locals!

The wine list is excellent, around 10 glasses of red and white, plus rose and sparkling, all available by 125ml, 375ml [that's a half bottle] and by the bottle. I do love a restaurant that allows you to order every wine by the glass, and with prices starting at £3.80 or so, it was very good value. I had a very nice fruity Pinot Noir and the boyfriend had a slightly richer, deeper Merlot. The wait staff also brought out a carafe of tap water without me asking for it - always a nice touch.

To start, we shared some bread and butter, along with mackerel rillettes with cumin bread (me) and bone marrow with sourdough (?) bread. The mackerel rillettes had a lovely texture, not too smooth but no lumps either, and the cumin bread was a revelation. I didn't try any of the bone marrow but it disappeared quickly and I was assured it was all good! 

For main, we both had the steak frites, mine with the shallot sauce, his with the peppercorn sauce, along with a side of garlic spinach. Just simple food, cooked well. The frites were definitely more chip-like than fry-like, but that's how I like them so I was happy. 

The only slightly bum note of the meal was the dessert. We chose the Chocolate Liegeois, which was £7 and billed as an ideal dish to share. I confess that I should have asked what this was, as I was expecting some kind of chocolate tart. Instead, it was a pretty average chocolate sundae, but with rather a lot of vanilla ice cream, and definitely not worth £7. It was a shame as the other desserts looked really good and so I don't think it was a fair representation of the restaurant. So, Le Bouchon, if you're reading this - either ditch the ice cream sundae, make it (a lot) more chocolate-y and also cut the price - it definitely wasn't worth £7 (other desserts were around £5), nor particularly big to share.

However, don't let this put you off. On the whole the food was great, simple but tasty, and with a very appealing menu (it's not often I often want to eat the whole menu!). The wine list has enough choice to be interesting, plenty of good value wines and all available by the glass. Plus, it's fantastic value: starters are £4 - £6, and mains around £8 - £12. We spent £67, for a three course meal each, four glasses of wine, bread and service charge.

It's not breaking any boundaries but then neither is it trying to - instead, it's simply offering a taste of Paris in Hackney. Go now.

No comments:

Post a Comment