Blanchette East restaurant recently opened on Bricklane in August 2016 and is a great addition to the growing variety and good cuisine offered on this strip. The restaurant has a tapas menu that successfully blends Southern French and Northern African influences and is divided into the following sections: cheese, charcuterie, fish, meat and vegetables. Tapas style restaurants are a growing trend in the London restaurant scene and I have grown weary of visiting a new restaurant only to be advised by the waiter to order at least three dishes per person. Sharing can be great but sometimes you just feel like enjoying a full meal on your own not to mention such places are successful at getting you to spend more money by ordering too much. Nonetheless, when we went to Blanchette East for dinner we found the meal portions to be larger than expected. The quality of ingredients was excellent and the complex flavours in each dish were delectable. We also enjoyed sitting at the bar and watching the bar staff pump out many interesting cocktail creations.
Flossy’s Rating: ★★★★
We went to Blanchette East dinner on a Saturday night. The restaurant was fairly busy but we were able to get a seat at the bar without a reservation. We were in the mood for cocktails and I asked the waiter for his recommendation from the limited cocktail list. He suggested a French Kiss without asking what ingredients we liked, and actually it was a tasty chocie albeit very sweet. It was served in a tall glass and contained a mixture of raspberry liquor, egg white, lemon juice and some other sweet juices and liquor, shaken over ice. Later on in the evening I ordered a Cosmopolitan, which was possibly the worst Cosmo I’ve ever had as the bartender went overboard on the Cointreau and orange peel garnish, and it tasted too alcoholic.
We didn’t realise Blanchette East was a tapas restaurant until we ordered our meals. Under the impression it was a regular main menu, I had ordered the mussels and my husband ordered onglet, with a side dish of green beans. The waiter suggested we should order at least 3 dishes per person, but we decided to stick with what the order we had placed and save some room for a cheese plate later on.
The mussels came served in a small bowl with a very rich and creamy orange-coloured sauce that was bursting with tarragon and saffron flavours. The mussels were the small Cornish variety and the meat was plump and tasty. Altogether it must have been the most fantastic mussel dish I have ever eaten however it was difficult to share as it had a lot of sauce but our sharing plates were flat and we didn’t have any spoons. This dish would have been perfection served as a large main on its own with a side of crusty bread.
The onglet was served seared with snails, parsley, garlic and soubise sauce. It was the only beef dish on the menu, and I would have preferred a more tender cut of steak, as onglet tends to be chewy. However the combination of flavours and textures in this dish worked really well together and we savoured every bite. Equally delicious was our side dish of beans, served cold as a salad tossed with aged Comté cheese, shallots and walnut dressing.
Altogether we could not find fault with our food. The dishes were rich in flavour and the ingredients in each dish were well thought out and of the freshest quality. Blanchette East really offers some something different from the humdrum of other French menus and I would be back again simply to try the other delicious concoctions available on the menu. Although the portions were intended to be tapas sizes, we felt satisfied sharing three dishes between us with room for dessert.
Blanchette East could be improved by having more knowledgeable waiters. For dessert we wanted to share a cheese plate and once again asked our waiter for some advice on the French cheeses. The cheese menu consisted of the following:
Bleu Des Basque (Sheeps’ Milk. Semi Soft like Roquefort)
Tomme De Corse (Ewes’ Milk. Delicate flavours of herbs, nuts and salt)
Fourme D’ambert (Cows’ Milk. Tender blue cheese with a fruity heart)
Comte 26 months (Unpasteurised Cow’s Milk, Washed Rind. Fruity and Intense)
Chèvre de Saint-Claud (Goats’ Milk.Slightly salted and creamy)
Camembert (Cows’ Milk. Slightly salted with a cream paste)
Morbier (Semi soft, Mild Cows’ Milk with a Layer of Ash)
The waiter didn’t think to ask us about our preferences but instead strongly recommended his favourite cheeses. We were then in the awkward position to accept his suggestion and choose the Bleu Des Basque, which was very delicious and the Comte cheese, which we had already sampled in the bean salad and was a good cheese, but I would have preferred something softer like a Camembert. The cheese plate was let down by the fact it didn’t come with any water crackers or French bread, but over-toasted slivers of what I could only deem to be an excuse for bread.
Blanchette East is a real gem in the East End and will only get better with time. I highly recommend this place for locals looking for a quality meal out.