Walluc - Honest, homely Bethnal Green bistro
YOU know a restaurant has a certain je ne sais quoi when there’s a table full of people obviously having a whale of a time.
On our last visit to Walluc in Bethnal Green’s Redchurch Street a large party was merrily knocking back glasses of wine and beer and dunking chunks of bread into moulten cheese in the bistro’s eclectically ramshackle back room.
The tiny, unassuming restaurant serves up hearty Alpine food, with a particular focus on Swiss specialities fondue and raclette, in two cosy, slightly tumbledown dining rooms with charmingly mismatched chairs and tables, kitsch ornaments and Vanessa Paradis and Jacques Brel playing on the stereo.
The menu is fairly limited, featuring three kinds of raclette (melted cheese scraped onto diners’ plates with a selection of cured meats, potatoes and vegetables), classic, one without pork and a vegetarian option, as well as a choice of two fondues, one with garlic and one with gorgonzola, which come with a selection of ham, salami, vegetables and a basket of bread.
There are a few less than Alpine options, including boeuf Bourgignon, cassoulet and a couple of pasta dishes, but emphasis is firmly on the Swiss selection. Starters are either a duck salad or a choice of salami, cheese or Italian antipasti.
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We happily tucked into bread and salami before diving headlong into a vat of gorgonzola fondue, washing it down with glasses of Cotes du Rhone and marvelling at the cycling jerseys, fishing nets and other puzzling paraphernalia adorning every nook and cranny of the restaurant.
Normally I wouldn’t order dessert, preferring to opt instead for cheese, but after the fromage foray of the main course a cherry clafoutis seemed like a good way to end the meal.
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Service at Walluc can be a little on the relaxed side but the hearty comfort food, genial, unrushed ambience and fascinating surroundings make a meal out there good value, filling and homely.