With some members travelling (while others a little too hungover to get out of bed), it was a smaller than usual gathering for the August edition of our Brunch Boys Club. If it weren’t for the soothing tune of piano keys emanating from it’s off-piste location in Hackney and echoing throughout the spacious warehouse conversion that Saturday afternoon, you could easily miss the existence of our brunch destination altogether.
Located in Wadeson Street just off Bethnal Green, Bistrotheque is a cafe-restaurant-cum-cabaret bar that exudes that raw, chic East London feel… white-washed walls, white industrial beams framing the roof and large, filamented bulbs hanging from the airy-vaulted ceiling. The mainly British-Franco-inspired bistro menu for lunch or dinner is simple, with no nonsense classics like Pan-fried Mackerel with beetroots & horseradish and Onglet with Chips and Bearnaise featuring. For brunch, there’s a coming together of all the usual suspects from cereal and fruits, to eggs, pancakes and decent coffee.
Apart from their pancakes which were disappointingly stodgy and undercooked (ugh..), most of the staple brunch dishes were generally alright. Sausages were large and meaty… Bacon, nicely-browned with crisped-up fat on the edges just how I like ‘em… and a wonderfully refreshing pink-grapefruit juice with just the right balance of sweet vs tang.
But what makes this a special place for Brunch is not so much the food. It’s all about their Baby Grand Piano in the middle of the room and the magnificent pianist Xavior who plays here on Saturday and Sunday afternoons… churning out great renditions of classics from Walking in Memphis to witty takes on modern pop hits from Katy Perry to Lady Gaga (loved his slowed-down, jazzed-up version of Firework). You’ll be left smiling while you try to guess and remember the name of that next familiar tune you hear…
A relaxed, happy, brunch affair on the whole and a diamond in the rough that’s worth travelling off the beaten track for if you ask me.
23-27 Wadeson Street, London, E2 9DR | www.bistrotheque.com | brunched Saturday Aug 20th, 2011