Restaurant Review: Bouchon Fourchette, Hackney, E8
PUBLISHED: 12:35 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:35 29 April 2013
Bouchon Fourchette is a piece of Gallic charm in the middle of Mare Street in Hackney.
171 Mare Street, E8
Closest stations: Bethnal Green or Hackney Central
Tel: 020 8986 2702
Starters from: £3.50
Main courses from: £8.00
Desserts from: £5.00
A glass of wine from: £3.00
From the outside, its location and exterior seem unassuming.
Inside, the retro chic cafe bistro is simply furnished and unfussy.
However, once the sun sets and the lights come on, the place had a cosy and delightful ambience.
The tables are well-spread out allowing room to stretch and engage in private conversation – a rare thing in a city like London where space comes at a premium.
It opened in February by Dorothee Gaschignard, who spent years working at Latin American restaurant Graucho Grille. The head chef has trained in the kitchens of celebrated French chefs Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire.
The menu is full of classic dishes which deliver on quality and taste. There are around seven starters (or aperos) including bone marrow and toast and mackerel rillettes with cumin bread.
My dinner date and I plump for the snails, which come drenched in garlic, butter and basil. We eagerly savour the plump meaty morsels and mop up the juices with soft baguette. They are so tasty, my date suggests ordering another round.
Instead, I go on to order the catch of the day with green beans wrapped in bacon as a main but request it without the bacon. Our lovely waitress suggests substituting the bacon with shallots to give them some flavour. It’s a good decision.
The green beans are perfectly done. They have a buttery taste and combined with the shallots, are a delicious combination. The plaice is also perfectly cooked with herbs and butter.
My date orders the steak tartare frites and is delighted with his choice, polishing it off within minutes.
Once again he suggests ordering the snails and I promise him that we can, as long as there are no desserts. Fortunately for me – someone who has a very sweet tooth – our waitress comes over brandishing the dessert menu.
It’s a great selection and after several minutes of ooh-ing and aah-ing I choose the distinctly non-French sounding Mum’s chocolate slice. What I get is the most delectable melt-in-the mouth cake which has a smooth fudge-like texture smothered in chocolate sauce.
My date orders the creme caramel which I help him polish off. It has a beautifully creamy taste and the accompanying caramel sauce is the perfect level of sweetness.
When we arrive just before 7.30pm we are the first people there, but once we leave around 10pm the place is buzzing. Clearly the London Fields crowd has already cottoned on to this unassuming jewel.