The explorer in me, actually, really enjoyed the element of surprise in finding Bistrotheque. Heck getting to Cambridge Heath station, the closest means of non-bus transport (I don’t trust buses) to Bistrotheque, itself was a journey all on its own! Some of the best meals I’ve ever had have been at places I’ve had to hunt for, (cue being led through an underground passageway, after having rung the bell outside a dodgy side door with no sign, by a Japanese lady at Yu-U in Melbourne) but it’s not actually that difficult to find Bistrotheque if you know that you need to look for it!
Once inside you are greeted by a wide open space of hipster, industrial chic, with its minimal white washed brick walls and pared down aesthetic. This restrained concept rings through to their menu as well.
The food is delightful, making simple but well conceived dishes. My starter of cured salmon, artichoke crisp, sour cream and dill was a tried and tested combination that worked well, presented beautifully and on the whole an ample portion of food for a starter. I loved the artichoke crisps, providing a pleasing crunch to the delicate salmon, in an otherwise very basic dish. The broccoli and lovage soup with radishes was also delectable though I would have loved a creamier texture ala Bar Boulud’s pea soup. The salt cod brandade was also very tasty.
For main I had the Pig’s Cheeks, Boston baked beans and mustard. The pig cheeks were absolutely gorgeous treats of goodness! Crispy on the outside and juicily moreish once you cut through, pared well with the mustard. I did feel the baked beans were a little bit forgotten but maybe because I’m not a fan of baked beans in any form, though Bistrotheque’s version were palatable! The smoked lamb shoulder was also tender and juicy, matched with delicious duck fat toast to soak up all the juices.
Desserts let Bistrotheque down slightly though. My chocolate pudding, milk ice cream was the strongest out of the three but proportions were just far off. The chocolate pudding was essentially a big ball of chocolate that, whilst lovely in small quantities, just overwhelmed the dish. The small crunchy offerings on the side were delightful however and I wish there were more to add more layers to this ball of chocolate. And the wish to reminisce of childhood milk ice cream were left unfulfilled as I had completely missed that it was milk ice cream.
I’m rarely bothered with service but I wasn’t particularly keen with it on this occasion. I felt a little bit of attitude from the waiter, he seemed antsy and uninterested or just overwhelmed I’m not quite sure what but either way I didn’t feel comfortable despite the good food and pretty surroundings.
Overall, I’d go there again simply for their £20 for 3 courses deal but besides that steal of a meal Bistrotheque serve simple dishes of beautifully conceived food worth trekking out for. I heard it’s good for brunch too.
Address: 23-27 Wadeson Street, London, E2 9DR
Telephone: 0208 983 7900
Mind The Gap: (Kitchen)
6pm-10.30pm (11pm Fri & Sat)
11am – 4pm (Sat & Sun)
Panda ate, shot and left.