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Direct descendants of the team behind popular wine bar and restaurant Fish – La Boissonnerie, barman Hayden Clout and chef Matt Ong bring a tradition of clever crowd-pleasing to Albion. The simple, airy space immediately suggests that they have got it right, with its elegant duck-egg blue walls, geometric wooden wine racks and a framed vintage map of Europe hinting at the kitchen’s influences. The menu is refreshed every week, and the formidable ‘cave de vins’ plundered to provide an accompanying weekly list of wines from as little as €4 a glass.
And the buzz that surrounds Albion isn’t entirely undeserved, but the menu can trip you up unexpectedly. We started with a beautiful Russian-inspired salad with fragrant beetroot, tangy yoghurt and salty trout’s eggs. Next to this, an overcooked hunk of grilled Provolone cheese was an unpleasant misfire. Mains were more even – a meaty fillet of cod worked well with its dark autumnal accompaniments of chard, apples, walnuts and spiced chutney, and lovely sweet pink medallions of tender pork on a luscious herb risotto and fennel purée. But dessert wrong-footed us again: rice pudding with hazelnuts and dulce de leche was nice enough, but presented as an unappetising brown puddle. A fine dark scoop of chocolate fondant was inexplicably teamed with a savoury winter squash mousse.
Since there’s so much to like about Albion, these false notes rankle – hopefully the chef will soon achieve the consistency that will make Albion what it wants to be, and so nearly is – a welcoming, inventive and sophisticated modern bistro.
80 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 10e
|Transport:||Metro : Poissoniere|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 12.15pm-2pm, 7pm-10pm|