14 July 2013

Chez Elles

Chez Elles is a French bistroquet in Brick Lane, nestled between the mass of curry houses on the Banglatown side of the lane. I've been meaning to break away from our usual Sunday afternoon jaunt down the vintage markets and bars on the top end of lane and check out Chez Elles, having read a positive review and with Spitalfields originally being a Huguenot area, thought it an appropriate setting for a spot of lunch.

We arrived to a warm welcome, and immediately felt at ease, the air conditioning being especially comfortable on one of the hottest days of the year. The room itself has some lovely decorative touches, French posters, art, a decorated trellis at one end, and the birdcage above the bar drawing the eyes attention. As it was Sunday, only a brunch menu was available, a selection of main dishes, including a vegetarian brunch,  a section of egg dishes and charcuterie and desserts. There was also some specials on the board, a lamb burger and a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, which we decided to go for.

My burger was excellent, the lamb burger served pink, with a really well flavoured tomato provencale topping and lovely white bap. These came with some really good home made chips, crisp on the outside and soft inside, with a good taste of potato, which although you would think would be an obvious statement, is a flavour missing from the big bags of frozen catering chips often found these days. My wife's tart was on a disc of puff pastry, with some excellent sweet onions, a salty tapenade and disc of goats cheese. Although goats cheese tarts aren't exactly unusual vegetarian options, this was an exceptionally good take on one.

We were going to have dessert elsewhere in the area, but the two other specials on the board sounded too good to miss. I had the Dame Blanche, and my wife the Sunday sundae. The Dame Blanche was a large meringue split and filled with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and warm chocolate sauce and a chocolate decorative bit, the Sunday sundae meringue, raspberry sorbet, whipped cream, mango and raspberry sauce. The sundaes were very generous portions, nearly taking up an entire main course pasta bowl, with a fantastic home made meringue, ice cream and accompaniments. Both were equally delicious and very filling, a great end to the meal.

I really liked Chez Elles, with its distinctly Gallic decor, clientele and owners, and will certainly want to return for a lunch or dinner, as there were some of my favourite bistro classics on the evening and lunch menus and given the execution of our brunch, will in no doubt be very fine indeed.

Chez Elles

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