Thursday, 27 February 2014

Bistrotheque - Bethnal Green, London

The hipster East awaits those with tight jeans, a fat tongue, and a public school education. Each year it seems to creep further and further in that direction. Yesterday Shoreditch, today Hackney, tomorrow Ipswich.

Perhaps it's already left London. The suited, booted, and overdressed attendees at Bistrotheque - a loft restaurant in Bethnal Green - outnumbered those in jeans, trainers, and a trendy trendy jumper. Man, did that guy feel like a pleb, I can tell you.

This was private dining, with the meal chosen in advance, the menu limited to a handful of choices, and your selection placed on the table like a business card. I am Cured Salmon. Feeling cheated of belly pork due to an administrative error on the part of the hosts, I was already dishing out negative marks like so much rum at a late night Jamaican party, only to scrabble them back in again once the food arrived.

Being sat next to someone so fussy they can't look at certain foods, let alone touch them, I found my starter swimming in mushrooms. Not quite what the chef intended for the cured salmon, but it did nothing to dampen the power of the horseradish pasted along the edge of each piece. Too much really, although still a good health piece of fish - a serious dose of protein flowing to the hollows where my muscles should be.

The duck confit, while no real substitute for the pork, was delicious, falling off the bone at a touch and tasting as sweet as a duck should. The room was so poorly lit and my eyes ever so slightly blurred through drink, that I couldn't quite make out what it came with. Needless to say, that was tasty too. Less so the side of lettuce - perhaps that wasn't meant for me.

Up to now, the food had been excellent and - squinting hard - the presentation to match. And then came the pudding. Themed, I presume, to match the darkness of the cave we sat in, it flapped it's way from the kitchen and touched down in a puddle. A small round brown ball, with wings, this bat of mousse sat floating in a sea of speckled vomit - an espresso flavoured, creamy vomit, but vomit nevertheless.

I don't understand this fascination with glamorous chocolate mousse. It always fails. Stick it in a ramekin and be done. It's almost pure chocolate and pigs like me will gulp it down without a second thought. Injecting finesse to the presentation seems to fail every time. That said, once I stopped laughing, I ate the whole thing - it's chocolate mousse, what can possibly go wrong? Unless you get some on the valance, of course.

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