The hipster count is high, but the welcome and service are friendly, and there’s a level of professionalism here that’s missing from many East End restaurants.
Head to the first floor of this East End trendsetter for the light, white restaurant and big oval bar (the Manchichi, where walk-ins can eat and good cocktails are mixed). Although the hipster count is high, the welcome and service are friendly, and there’s a level of professionalism here that’s missing from many local restaurants.
The kitchen is capable of highs – duck confit with puy lentils and mushrooms was a stellar version – but a steady B-plus is more usual. Pricing is variable too – the generous prix fixe costs £17.50 for three good-sized courses, while a tiny portion of cured salmon salad with beetroot and horseradish remoulade was £14 (we can’t imagine what the £8 size looks like).
The menu (and short wine list) is more French-leaning than truly Gallic: a cheeseburger with pancetta and caramelised onions sits alongside onglet with chips and béarnaise sauce, and treacle tart with clotted cream next to crème brûlée.
A popular weekend brunch adds the likes of (US-style) pancakes with bacon and maple syrup to the mix. Less welcome at brunch are the 90-minute dining slots, and the tables set uncomfortably close to the piano. Overall, it's a reliable but fun restaurant that hasn’t become complacent.