It feels French, not only pretending to be.
As we crossed the threshold of the repurposed shipping container, nestled in the Elephant and Castle version of Shoreditch’s effortlessly trendy Boxpark, Artworks, it doesn’t seem OTT to describe a sense of being transported, so complete was the design and execution of the inside of the structure to replicate a cutsy French cantina. White tiles, trailing green ferns, cages holding wine, all surrounded rustic, wooden tables imaginatively arranged into a squeamishly tight reclaimed space that couldn’t be more than a few square feet.
The quintessentially French waitress oozed the essence of the place, confidently welcoming us and providing a velvety explanation of the concept and meticulously-selected dishes on the Le Menu. Framed in gold, the short list offered us an array of exquisite French cuisine miniatures, meant for sharing in tapas-inspired style.
We opted for an appropriately gooey Raclette Monsieur Toastie, runny Poached Duck Egg Asparagus, rich Smoked Duck Magret, succulent Duck Fat Chips, and failed to resist polishing off the smorgasboard with a deliciously pretentious “deconstructed creme brulee”. My Spanish boyfriend washed his down with satisfying tankard of grenadine, apparently summoning memories of his southern French family holidays, while for me a La Chouffe beer was a no-brainer, having been the highlight of my short Brussels career.
Perhaps not a cuisine to eat everyday, I wouldn’t quite badge it my new local eatery but the food was seductively rich, the ambience enchanting and the ethos of the place lovingly realised. The Bistro falls the right side of overly gimmicky, hipster pop-ups – it feels French, not only pretending to be.
This two-female-run innovative grotto of sassy frenchness left both my tastebuds excited and my hopes for the area inspired. Coming in at around £20 a head, it was cheap taste of luxury in a place you would least expect it. I will definitely be returning. And in excruciating wannabe-hipster style, attempting a deconstructed creme brulee at my next dinner party…
The Frenchie Bistro, The Artworks Elephant, Unit 8
Tue, Wed, Thu : 6pm – 10pm Fri, Sat : 6pm – 11pm