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Restaurant review: Le Bouchon Breton, Spitalfields

PUBLISHED: 18:00 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:22 05 October 2010

Oysters at Le Bouchon Breton

Oysters at Le Bouchon Breton

THE last time I ate oysters I heaved as I struggled to swallow the cold salty critters and didn t particularly relish the thought of ever having to stomach them again. But faced with a menu which screams shellfish in a restaurant which hosts its own oyste

THE last time I ate oysters I heaved as I struggled to swallow the cold salty critters and didn't particularly relish the thought of ever having to stomach them again.

But faced with a menu which screams shellfish in a restaurant which hosts its own oyster masterclasses I thought it was about time I gave them another whirl.

"Six is enough for you?" Maitre d' Yoann Truwant asked us. "Yes, six would be plenty," I replied thinking that I could just about manage three oysters.

But when the enormous bowl brimming with ice and garnished with seaweed arrived we realised that he'd actually meant six each, not six between us.

Luckily my dining partner is a huge oyster fan, has a stomach like a bottomless pit and is almost always able to finish off any food I am unable eat.

Even more luckily, most of the oysters were delicious, with the spectacularly large 20-year-old Pied de Cheval more than making up for the Dorset rock oysters whose salty snottiness brought memories of my previous oyster experiences flooding back.

Washed down with a chilled glass of Beau Mayne Bordeaux sauvignon blanc, I think I've got over my oyster phobia.

Second course was a meltingly tender boeuf Bourgignon which was rich and flavourful, served with perfect mash and a glass of ballsy, robust Pomerol-Bordeaux.

Steak tartare was prepared at the table as M Truwant tailored the mayonnaise to my companion's taste, adding Tabasco, capers, mustard and herbs to the mix of raw, chopped filet steak which was served with crunchy but fluffy French fries.

Our eyes must have lit up when the cheese trolley laden with more than 30 different types was wheeled towards us. We knew cheese was something Le Bouchon Breton did extremely well, having employed its own "frommelier" and regularly hosting cheese courses for its punters.

Ascertaining that we both had a penchant for strong, salty cheeses, M Truwant plied us with Soumaintrain, an unpasteurised washed rind salty cow's milk cheese, strong, salty Vieux Lille, a Bleu d'Auvergne, goat's cheese Les Quatre Feuilles and peppercorn infused Bocardo aux poivres.

Steering us away from the apparent cardinal sin of red wine with cheese, red dessert wine Banyuls Reserva Domaine de la Tour Vieulle was expertly recommended as an accompaniment.

Almost full to bursting, we were eventually persuaded to share a light, delicately vanilla-flavoured crème brûlée which had just the right amount of crunchy caramel on the top and finished off the meal perfectly.

One of the most quintessentially French experiences you'll get in London, certainly in the East End, Le Bouchon Breton is worth a visit for its excellent food and enthusiastic, attentive service, if not just for a sneak a peek at the sommelier who looks exactly like a thin version of the opera singer from the Go Compare advert (without the silly moustache).

Le Bouchon Breton, Horner Square, Old Spitalfields Market

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