171 Mare Street, E8 3RH
0208 986 2702
AKA: The one to quench your steak-frites craving
The deal: There were a few LOLs around when Hackneyites heard a French restaurant was going to be opening practically next door to infamous nightspot, The Dolphin. But the restaurant proved to be a massively welcome addition to the area when it opened its door in 2012, offering casual, tasty and inexpensive classic dishes from across the Channel. The charming staff can talk you through what's on offer, and people flock to Bouchon for their lunch special at just £7.99. Tres bon. And we haven't even left Mare Street.
The menu: The bistro offerings go in meat heavy for the starters, with bone marrow on toast (£6), smooth rillettes (£4) and even some buttery, herby snails (£6) for the true Francophiles. The mains are incredible value, with the most expensive only clocking in at £13. It's hearty, classics all the way with the ever-tasty beef Bourguignon (£12), a quality steak tartare (£11) for those who like it raw, and the fish stew of kings, Bouillabaisse (£11). Desserts keep it simple and sweet with Dorothee the owner's mum's rich chocolate slice (£5), (merci, maman), a slight and light crème caramel (£5) and a good whack of a hefty cheese plate to finish (£7).
The signature dish: Pefectly cooked steak-frites, of course. £12, with shallot or green pepper sauce.
The chef: Salim Kaid
When to dine: Friday lunchtime – make like the French and make it a two-hour feast.
Damage to pocket: Mains are around £11, so a starter, main, dessert and glass of wine will set you back about £25 per person.
File under: Cheap chomps, date night, lunch deals