A French Affair
Wow. A hiatus. A big large gaping hiatus. My sincere apologies for neglecting my position as chief restaurant rambler, but with a shiny new job taking precedence over my dining habits, the realignment of my waistline and liver refurbishment had to happen.
And first up, I have a real treat for you all. Introducing Petit Pois Bistro
Petit Pois is conveniently located above what is thought by many in the know, to be one of the best bars on the globe. Under the same ownership, Alastair Burgess figured it would be a huge waste to not take advantage of the space above his bar and so transformed it into the compact little French Bistro you see before you.
Always a gamble heading into the culinary world but with two heavily successful bars under his belt (also Original Sin over in Stoke Newington), it seemed like a natural step.
Keeping with the atmospheric theme the bars are known for, candles in brick alcoves and shining brass ornamental touches here and there, it fits perfectly into the effortlessly easy dining zone while simultaneously placing itself in strong competition with French restaurants in the city and beyond. It has somehow also managed to retain the exposed brickwork synonymous with Shoreditch without approaching its nether regions.
So let’s start at the very beginning. A simultaneously tricky and wonderful menu as one of those ‘oh go on let’s have it all’ sorts where the choice wasn’t huge (4 options for start/ main and 3 for dessert) but I’d have been happy with anything and everything from it. Similarly with the wine list, but on high recommendation from downstairs Dan, we chose the Riesling which I’m now going to need to bulk buy it was so delicious!
I arrived with time to run around and be annoying with my camera before my knight in shining jumper appeared to nod, smile, make all the right noises and poke the egg for the money shot. Boy did guud!
If you’re in the ‘black pudding is the devil’ team, (I’m borderline), this one will change your mind in an instant with the oozy egg, pancetta and red wine sauce marrying it all together in deliciousness, rich (but not too rich) mouthfuls. Looks like I’ve been converted!
Having just returned from Paris without a moulle passing my lips, we chose the next best city to make up for my neglect and tucked into these creamy creatures. Mopped up with hunks of bread, this would be an excellent sharing stater if you’re not looking for the three course whammy.
With very little hesitation it was straight onto the main game, an undeniably easy choice of steak frites and duck confit. The steak, sizeable and cooked medium rare was the only way steak should be and a beautiful cut of meat to match.
The confit duck was just the right amount of crispy and arrived with a smooth sweet onion puree and (wait for it) the best potato dauphinoise that I have ever had the pleasure to consume. Perfect cream to potato ratio with the light brown entry level. Too much deliciousness for little me to handle really! A bowl of glazed onion and lardons topped off our already well filled bellies.
We were a satisfied pair. I have really tried to fault our meal as but have failed miserably on that front as we both had a truly delightful time. It doesn’t end there either.
We had one more course to go and a secret source had me well informed that the chocolate mousse was an essential requirement and was set to ‘blow my mind’. While it didn’t quite send my brains flying out my ears, it came pretty damn close. With a hint of orange, it was a sharp smooth dark treat, arriving in a huge mixing bowl to be spooned onto our plates in front of our wide eyes. And then it was gone!
Taken care of to the upmost, we smacked our lips and headed downstairs to Happiness Forgets for a nightcap. With hindsight, given my penchant for the place (and the delightful fact I can walk home), this was always going to be more of a nightsombrero (or other much larger sized head wear).
Four excellently balanced off the menu whisky based creations and a two shots of something later, we bid our goodbyes and headed out into the night. There is well over a hundred percent chance that i'll be returning. I hear the creme brûlée is quite something!
9am till 11pm Monday to Saturday (kitchen closes 10.30pm)9am till 5pm Sunday (kitchen closes 4pm)
0207 613 3689
Petit Pois Bistro. 9 Hoxton Square. N1 6NU
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I was invited as a guest of Petit Pois but this by no means influenced my musings.