Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green
23-27 Wadeson Street
020 8983 7900
by Orva Easy
It is, without doubt, the mark of a quality establishment, when you are offered the wine list at 11 in the morning. This splendid first impression was further fortified when our waiter batted not an eyelid at our unhesitating order of a bottle of prosecco; and when we wondered about the whereabouts of their cigarette machine, he allowed us to ‘stick it on the bill’ and provided us with temporary relief from his own pocket while he waited for change. This is the nicest place I have ever had breakfast, I thought to myself, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.
After a perusal of the lengthy brunch menu, its delights ranging from ‘pink grapefruit’, through ‘lardons with sauté potatoes and fried egg’ all the way to ‘rack of lamb’, we both plumped for the safety of smoked haddock, spinach and poached egg with hollandaise. With our bottle of bubbles and pack of twenty (yes, twenty, not sixteen), we whiled away a very pleasant ten minute wait in the direct line of a fan (thoughtfully repositioned by our charming waiter), and concentrated on getting drunk.
When at last it arrived, I was momentarily taken aback by the smallness of our little breakfast towers, balanced on English muffins in the centre of vast white plates. One small incision into the fluffy poached egg, however, and disappointment faded into childish enjoyment as the yolk oozed out and mingled pleasingly with the liberally applied hollandaise. The piece of haddock, which was at least as thick as my thumb, was perhaps slightly over-poached but meaty enough to be forgivable. I forget the spinach, and at £8 one does rather hope to remember every aspect of a breakfast, but the spring in my stagger as I lurched out into the sunshine made it entirely worthwhile.