For some reason I am unwilling to try this place. I've passed it a number of times and know there is a general buzz around it, but somehow I just don't fancy it. So what's stopping me? Is it:1) its location in the unlovely end of Mare St (by the way there is no lovely end, whatever Foxtons may tell you);
2) the fear that it is the kind of place where you perch on a vintage (read rickety) chair, are served a plate of organic quinoa by a waiter with several piercings; you leave clutching a large bill, sporting several splinters in your butt, all for the pleasure of that edgy east London experience;
3) the orange signage?
Well, I expect it's all of the above but especially 3) the orange signage - it's inexplicable or maybe a worrying symptom of colour synaesthesia, but when my lunch date suggests Bouchon Fourchette, I dig in my heels. Can't we go to Lardo down the road? Or surely there's somewhere nice in Victoria Park Village? At this she thrusts her iphone in my face and yelps, "even Fay Maschler likes it." I relent.
Fay, of course, is not wrong. It's charming. The chef worked with Alain Ducasse and the menu offers French home cooking par excellence. For lunch we can choose between omelettes, croque monsieur, sausages with Puy lentils, chicken with a wild mushroom sauce all served with frites and a glass of wine at a price of £7.99. We read that Fay had followed her meal with a Café Gourmand (coffee with 3 mini desserts) and we follow slavishly, sharing a mini crème caramel and a chocolate liegeois slice with a couple of wafers. Everything is well sourced, delicious and fresh.
Once established, this will be the kind of place that you have to sell your first born child to gain a reservation, so go now. Oh, and our charming French waiter had a nose ring just in case you had forgotten you were in east London.