The Bonneville, Clapton

Pritesh Mody |
The Bonneville Interior

With few exceptions, French food in London has long been associated with fancy plates of technically excellent but meagre morsels.  However, a trip to The Bonneville in Clapton shows that our Gallic cousins are just as adept at comfort food as us Brits!

Serving a simple mixture of French and Belgian classics, the restaurant occupies a historic building on Lower Clapton Road and transports the visitor back in time with its striking décor inspired by turn-of-the century Parisian opulence. The new dining destination features an eclectic range of salvaged materials that give a feeling of grandeur and decadence, including a feature bar constructed from old French railway carriages, a skylight from the old Metropole cinema in Victoria, and other features rescued from historically significant buildings such as Chartwell House (Winston Churchill¹s family home) and the prestigious ship, HMS Powerful. Even a trip to the toilets is filled with drama, this time using old East End London as inspiration, with a dark passage filled with smoke and ethereal music, exposed cobbled bricks and a door salvaged from Clerkenwell prison. The Bonneville Lamb In the kitchen is Head Chef Oly Launey (formerly of Moro and St John), who has created a menu of French and Belgian classics.  Starters include everything from Terrine de Campagne with cornichons, to rich Brie & Gruyère Croquettes and Moules Marinière.  The choice of mains features the kind of unashamedly bold flavours and generous portions that will guarantee a food coma, including Shoulder of lamb with pomme boulangere & samphire and Sea Bass with slow cooked fennel & rocket salad.  If you've somehow still got room for sweet things then Crème brûlées and Chocolate tarts await you! More than just a restaurant, The Bonneville also provides a wonderfully atmospheric setting in which to sink a few drinks.  The cocktail menu is predominantly made up of classics, with home-made syrups and bitters adding a personal touch to a menu that contains the Bijou, Last Word and Vieux Carre. Additionally, East London's increasingly growing army of wine enthusiasts will no doubt appreciate a list that is seasonal and completely organic and biodynamic. Cuisine: French/Belgian Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £45 Wine: £4.50 Cocktails: £7.50 Food: 4/5 Venue: 5/5 Value: 4/5 43 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, E5 ONS Bookings: 0208 533 3301
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