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If you were to pick a location in London to stick a French-kissed bistro, the last place you'd think of would be an industrial estate in Hackney. Set at the edges of trendy Bethnal Green and across the canal from Victoria Park, Bistrotheque has variously been the darling of the east London fashion and arts scene, and still pulls in crowds of the insouciant, stylish and artistic variety.
Lacking signage outside, the only evidence of its presence is the print logo emblazoned on the wall in the lobby. The capacious and open main dining room is a stripped back affair, a former warehouse with whitewashed walls, steel beams and dripping with industrial chic. The menu is an Anglo-French medley - a balance of enough familiar comfort grub to acknowledge the local community, and enough brasserie items to lend it a touch of Gallic sophistication.
Moules Normandes - a more sophisticated version of the classic Marinieres recipe - comes with slab bacon, luxurious cream and gorgeous cider, and other French items include steak tartares, charcuterie and quail roasted with grapes and verjus. Puddings tend towards the classic as well with chocolate torte, crème brulee dicing with charming hybrids like brioche and butter pudding.
At £21 for three courses, the prix fixe menu - available in the evenings - represents terrific value for money. The adjacent performing space for cabaret and evening shows is seldom used, but a casual weekend meal or brunch here represents a slice of shabby East London chic mixed with a jolt of continental élan.
Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 - 16:00
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 18:30 - 22:30, Friday & Saturday: 18:30 - 23:00
23-27 Wadeson Street, Hackney, E2 9DRView Larger Map