What's the draw
Blanchette Soho, with its sharing-style menu and cool, intimate vibe, introduced us to a new kind of French dining when it opened in 2013. Three years later, and the brothers behind it – Maxime, Malik and Yannis Alary – are continuing to update classic cuisine à la française by introducing Mediterranean and Maghrebi influences to the dishes at their second site, Blanchette East on Brick Lane.
What to drink
As you'd expect, there's an excellent wine list that mostly focuses on French producers. We were lead by the recommendation of our waitress, and ended up with the 2015 Raisons Gaulois, a gamay blend produced in Beaujolais by winemaker Marcel Lapierre. It's chock-full of raisin and redcurrant flavours – hence the name – and served lightly chilled for maximum refreshment.
What to eat
This is pretty much French tapas, so expect to order between five and six dishes for two. We skipped the snacks and got straight down to business with cheese and charcuterie, opting for delicate, flavoursome slivers of coppa with pickles and celeriac remoulade, and a soft and fruity blue cheese called fourme d'ambert. Elsewhere, we also sampled monkfish with smoked aubergine purée (yum) and the pork fillet with pickled girolle mushrooms (double yum), accompanied by green bean and tomato salads. There was one major regret to the evening: not sampling the lamb tagine, which encapsulates the North African influences that Blanchette East aims to recreate – don't make the same mistake we did.
Small plates from £4.75 and wines from £5.50 by the glass. 204 Brick Lane, E1 6SA; blanchettebricklane.co.uk