Fancy some traditional and yet affordable French cuisine in London? The “Chez Elles Bistroquet” on Brick lane serves amazing food for brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s the latter that we’ll review here, allons-y!
The Chez Elles Bistroquet Setting ★★★★☆
Chez Elles (literally “at their home”) does a great job at making you feel like you’re in an old-fashioned Parisian café. I might even go as far as to say that it’s even cuter than the real thing, considering that such places are less and less common in France. I especially love the bar decoration, which is visible on the second picture below.
This French Bistro atmosphere is even more impressive considering that Brick Lane is otherwise made of flashy curry houses, which makes Chez Elles feel a bit out of place. Nothing to worry about though, you’ll quickly forget about that once comfortably installed inside, listening to Edith Piaf’s best songs.
Make sure to book ahead as the place is quite popular, thus quite noisy during rush hour.
The Starters ★★★★★
We tried the “Escargots de Bourgogne au beurre persillé” (Burgundy snails cooked in garlic & parsley butter) and the “Croustillant de boudin noir aux pommes” (Black pudding and apples wrapped in crispy pastry).
The snails are prepared the French way: removed from their shell and cooked in a butter & garlic sauce. Snails on their own are not that tasty so it’s all about the sauce and the preparation, something that the Chez Elles chef does perfectly.
The Croustillant is a traditional dish made with boudin noir, the French version of black pudding. It’s a classic terroir dish that blends sweet and salty flavours perfectly, highly recommended for meat lovers!
The Mains ★★★★★
We chose the day special “Bouillabaisse” (It’s a Marseille fish soup cooked with various types of seafood & potatoes) and the “Selles d’Agneau” (Lamb filet stuffed with spinach and almonds, Dauphine potatoes & green peas purée).
Both dishes were delicious though I have a slight preference for the lamb filet: the spinach & almond stuffing creates a distinctive aroma, and that green peas purée is to die for.
Do notice the generosity of the portions, you are not bound to leave Chez Elles with an empty stomach!
The Dessert ★★★★★
As the starters and mains were quite filling, we only had room to share one dessert so I find it quite difficult to evaluate this category based on a single dish.
We opted for the “Crème brûlée vanille-pistache” (Vanilla-pistachio crème brulée) which is probably the best choices after a heavy meal since it’s a very light dessert, made from custard topped with a hardened layer of caramel.
I’ve only tried the one, but it’s safe to assume that the other desserts are on par with the rest of the food served at “Chez Elles”, so that’s another 5 star rating.
The Service ★★★★★
The owners are two ladies names Nadia & Aurélie, both of them are so welcoming and passionate that you may even forget the stereotype of the “mean Frenchies”.
The whole staff is friendly, efficient and if you consider this to be important for credibility: most of them are French. Feel free to ask any of them about the menu since they’ll provide solid recommendations, as they so kindly did to my Chinese dinner companion.
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★
The “Chez Elles Bistroquet” is an authentic French restaurant that serves simple, affordable and generously portioned food.
If you enjoy authentic cuisine that combines simplicity and quality, it’s one of London’s safest bets!
+: Beautiful decoration
+: Tasty traditional food, generous portions
+: Variety of daily specials
+: Menu changes regularly
+: Excellent value for money
-: Not the best street
-: Can be noisy during rush hour