Bouchon Fourchette

171 Mare Street, E8 3RH
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Mon 5pm-10pm; Tue-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm

On London’s rapid foodie-tre(n)d-mill, it takes a brave soul to go traditional. In an area dense with pop-ups and passing fancies, Bouchon Fourchette is eyeing the long game. After our visit last week, though barely a year old, it’s hard to imagine Mare Street without this rare proponent of thoughtful and traditional French cuisine.

Proprieter Dorothee Gaschignard has put in the hard yards in the London restaurant scene with management positions at Gaucho and Cote Brasserie. This is her first solo venture. The menu is concise and familiar. There is little evidence of re-imagination, deconstruction or any other trendy –ion. It is simply a case of doing the simple things very, very well, and at a more than reasonable price.

Our bone marrow starter consisted of a gargantuan shinbone, sawn in quarters, paired with sourdough toast and a powerful mesh of onions, capers and garlic. Our steak tartar main was among the best I have ever tasted. Once again, no boundaries were broken; it was simply the highest quality meat with fresh salad and the same phenomenal bread.

As a staunchly salt-toothed male, dessert has never been my biggest concern. Given this caveat, and the standard of what preceded it, I am as surprised as you are to report that Muma’s chocolate cake was the highlight of the night. The recipe hails from the kitchen of Mde Gaschignard Snr, it’s impeccable balance of salt/sweet makes the rest of the desert menu a formality. This is a neighbourhood restaurant that adds permanent as opposed to transitory value. Bouchon Fourchette is sure to be around long after the –ie is dropped from foodie and long after the Korean-BBQ-Veggie-Burger pop-ups trot southwards.