Spring is still trying to unfurl, and as any lover knows, Paris is wonderful at this time of year.

But if a trip to the French capital is a Eurostar too far, then North London has the next best thing - a traditional French brasserie overlooking Islington Green, serving perfect steak frites.

Bellanger hails from the same stable as the reliably excellent Wolseley, Delaunay and Brasserie Zedel in Central London. It went through a spruce up last summer, and from its jolly red awning and terrasse, to its gleaming glass and mahogany fittings, it channels the spirit of a Parisian Grand Cafe.

Hackney Gazette: Bellanger features white tablecloths, classic French posters and comfortable booths with cosy lightingBellanger features white tablecloths, classic French posters and comfortable booths with cosy lighting (Image: Bellanger)

Here you will find attentive, professional service, vintage French posters, proper white tablecloths, and a hat stand for your chapeau.

On the night we dined, there was even jazzy live music to add a swing to the ambience of couples enjoying a civilised dinner - somehow Bellanger has perfected the cosy lighting and cushioned booths for a catch up à deux.

The spring menu takes its cue from Southern Mediterranean cooking, and Monday to Friday you can order the good value Prix Fixe menu at £19.95 for two courses and £23.95 for three - enjoying the likes of salad Nicoise, steak hache, and hot chocolate mousse.

Hackney Gazette: The menu includes French classics such as duck a l'orangeThe menu includes French classics such as duck a l'orange (Image: Bellanger)

Diving into the à la carte menu, we spotted Escargots and Steak Tartare on the starters, alongside English dishes like dressed Dorset crab.

My Provencal goats cheese salad was a knockout; a round of warm, yielding cheese drizzled in honey and thyme with a slow cooked peppers and dressed salad leaves.

There's a whole section on eggs; Royale with smoked salmon and Hollandaise, or Basquaise with Chorizo tomato and red pepper - this place would be great for brunch.

Hackney Gazette: A classic brasserie style bar at Bellanger in Islington GreenA classic brasserie style bar at Bellanger in Islington Green (Image: Bellanger)

Mains are hearty and casual, a chicken escalope, fish stew, duck a l'orange, or crab linguine. We had to try the classic Steak Frites, a straight out of central casting flat iron with Bearnaise and French fries.

My pan-roasted cod à  la Provencal with capers, olives and anchovies hadn't spent enough time searing before being baked in the tomato sauce. It had a soft texture and was lacking an anchovy punch but went nicely with a side of new potatoes and a glass of excellent Sauvignon Blanc.

Hackney Gazette: A hot smoked salmon Nicoise at BellangerA hot smoked salmon Nicoise at Bellanger (Image: Bellanger)

Of course there's a cheese board and caramelised apple tart, but we ended with a dose of nostalgia for French holidays past, with a Coupe Liegois  and Coupe Amandine.

These delectable Gallic ice-cream sundaes feature cold scoops of either vanilla or praline, soused in hot dark chocolate or warm butterscotch sauce.

While some prices are steep - starters are in the £13.50-£15 price bracket - there are lower price points, the aforementioned Prix Fixe, or great deal of Steak Frites for two with a carafe of house red for £49.50.

'Sacré bleu!' as the Parisians probably don't say.

Bellanger is at 9, Islington Green, Angel. The restaurant is holding a wine fair on April 27 from 12.30-3.30pm showcasing tastings from wineries including Domaine Roc des Anges, Daumas Gassac, and Clos du Gravillas along with light bites from the spring menu for £15 per head.