When Bistrotheque opened its doors ten years ago, it launched a new restaurant scene in the Hackney borough and surrounding areas. All over East London, new restaurants continue to pop up, but this is the original and one of the best. Tucked away on Wadeson St, it’s easy to miss – it manages to maintain an air of anonymity even after a decade.
If you were a complete Hackney hipster you might call the interior ‘New York loft style’. The restaurant has recently been revamped – no longer is the upstairs separated into smaller rooms; it’s now a huge local love-in with a big wooden bar, small tables, an exposed kitchen and little else.
Weekend brunches or a Sunday roast are my favourite choices – a guy on a piano still tinkles your favourite pop hits while you can have (my favourite) the posh British fry-up or an enormous roast beef lunch with all the trimmings. Wash either down with a Camp ‘Arry cocktail or one of the French red wines.
For dinner, there’s an even bigger choice of British and French cuisine – I haven’t tried everything, but it’s a pretty diverse menu. Gourmet fish & chips? Check. Calf’s liver? Check. And the desserts! Oh, boy.
Downstairs, Will Broome’s bizarre illustrations have sadly been painted over in favour of crisp white walls. The cabaret room is gone, also (I’m bereft) – but the Manchichi bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail, east side. Booking is essential.