Les Nenettes, Lower Clapton: Chic French bistrot is run on girl power

Les Nenettes in Lower Clapton Road

Les Nenettes in Lower Clapton Road - Credit: les nenettes

Les Nenettes really comes into its own on a bright sunny day.

Cote de Boeuf, Les Nenettes style

Cote de Boeuf, Les Nenettes style - Credit: les nenettes

With the patio doors flung wide open, seated outside at the trellis tables on its terrace overlooking a corner of leafy Clapton Square, you feel as though you have been transported to “le continent”.

This charming French bistrot in Lower Clapton Road is named after the French for “the chicks” and is run by Eve Ricard.

She moved here from Contis, just above Biarritz, 18 years ago, and hasn’t ever wanted to leave Hackney where it’s “like a little village where everyone calls you love”.

She has branched out here on her own after honing her knowledge of the restaurant trade at Smithfields, the Oxo Tower and the Market Café in London Fields.

A croque madame at Les Nenettes

A croque madame at Les Nenettes - Credit: les nenettes


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She decided to only work with girls – because there are “less control issues” – hence her bistrot’s name.

Her home town of Contis is marked on a chalk map on the wall, along with cartoon pictures of her at all the French hotspots and here in Clapton.

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Décor is simple, airy and elegant with white and black chequered floor tiles, white walls and a white bar.

It’s open around the clock with breakfast served from 10am which includes avocado, pomegranate and poached egg tartine (£8.50). A delicious Burger Basque des Nenettes (£14) is on the lunch menu. Made with a bright Savoyard yellow sauce which you can only get hold of in France, it comes with bacon, red peppers and crispy thyme frites.

A steak tartare at Les Nenettes

A steak tartare at Les Nenettes - Credit: les nenettes

Juicy gambas (£15.50) are imbued with the garlic they’ve been cooked in are just one of the options for dinner, which is served until 10.30pm.

All the desserts are winners, from a warm crunchy cherry Basque gateau, white and dark chocolate mousse and a lavender infused crème caramel (£6).

These days Hackney residents have the option of eating any cuisine from any country in the world or vegan fare galore.

But a visit to Les Nenettes makes you realise the French really do know what they’re doing when it comes to the kitchen, and it’s hard to beat a juicy bit of meat.

Les Nenettes on a sunny day. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Les Nenettes on a sunny day. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

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The gambas at Les Nenettes. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

The gambas at Les Nenettes. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Les Nenettes on a sunny day. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Les Nenettes on a sunny day. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

The black cherry gateau Basque at Les Nenettes. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

The black cherry gateau Basque at Les Nenettes. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

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