Everyone’s talking about Hoi Polloi (as in the restaurant, not ‘the people’). So, I’m going to give some attention to its older, edgier sister Bistrotheque.
Bistrotheque ticks the ‘edgy’ box by living in a warehouse down a dark, deserted road in Bethnal Green that would make a perfect setting for The Killing. The inside couldn’t be more different. Warm, lively and inviting, the large dining room is made up of an open kitchen, central bar and hungry hipsters laughing the night away.
We started with two Aperol Spritz at £7 each – I know, so last summer – and an indulgent bowl of Scotched Quails Eggs from the ‘snacks’ section of the menu (also £7).
I find it hard to resist scotch eggs, so the thought of a runny quail’s egg encased in a layer of crispy pork proved too much to bare, despite The Boyfriend’s warnings of the courses to come.
Starters of Steak Tartare (£8) and Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco & Parmesan (£7) were the highlights of our meal. The tartare was sublime and the spring onions were more than any veggie could wish for, reminding me of what I’d experienced at Grain Store a couple of weeks before.
As for the mains, my Whole Black Bream with green sauce (£17.50) was tasty, but not memorable, and The Boyfriend’s Onglet with girolles, shallot and a red wine sauce (£16.50) hit similar notes from across the table.
Our sides were solid. The chips (£4) were thick, crisp and devoured in about five minutes and the Romanesco Cauliflower Cheese (£5.50) was a great idea, but seemed a little watery.
Bistrotheque gets a LLE Rating of 7 / 10. It scored marks for service, cocktails and overall vibe, but lost a few when it came to the food. It was perfectly enjoyable, but some dishes didn’t blow us away. Perhaps Hoi Polloi is getting all of Pablo and David’s attention, as well as that of the press?
Bistroteque, 23–27 Wadeson Street, London E2 9DR