"This is a place that knows its flavours"Review Rating: Reviewed by Laurel
As we hurtle ever closer towards winter and our gastronomic tendencies tend to veer from rosé and crisp salads to red wine and hearty comfort food, may I introduce you to Spitalfields’ L’Ami Malo, London’s modern creperie. A cosy nook of a restaurant (it sits 47 covers), this French fantasy is nestled down Artillery Passage; blink and you’ll miss it which, trust me, you don’t want to do.
The menu, simple and rustic, focuses on the classic French galette and crepe, with rich flavour combinations that will keep your tastebuds tantalised. They’re a far cry from the lemon and sugar crepes we so hungrily feasted on during childhood holidays on French campsites, though there is an upmarket twist on the classic on the dessert menu. Breton-born head chef Williams Guillemot, formerly of Clos Maggiore, has taken buckwheat, an ingredient favoured for its healthy, gluten-free properties, and used it to create a whole host of innovative dishes.
Starters including a plate of crispy buckwheat goats cheese croquettes, with roasted heritage beetroot and a delicious honey and thyme dressing - a classic combination that never gets old, they really ought to have it on menu as a main. The maki rolls, made with a buckwheat (sensing a theme) galette, however didn’t quite work for us; combining Japanese aesthetic with French tradition resulted in a slightly boring smoked salmon and Ferne fraiche nibble that was barely better than one made at home.
Nevertheless, starters were really unrequited given the sizeable mains; this is where the French Comfort coolio really steps up to the plate (sorry). With buckwheat a traditional ingredient in rustic French cooking for ever, it’s the main ingredient in all of L’Ami Malo’s main course galettes. The Complète was the perfect amalgamation of farmhouse supper and aprés-ski lunch. Oozing with comté cheese sauce, accompanied with crispy maple-cured bacon and a duck egg.m, it’s hearty rich and comforting; everything French food should be. My choice of asparagus and wild mushroom, with a mixed leaf salad, poached egg and truffle hollandaise sauce was possibly the most summery of those on the menu, br the mushrooms were so flavourful I definitely didn’t regret my choice.
With other flavours including slow roast lamb with French beans and morteau sausage with leek fondue, this is a place that knows is flavours. Non-galette main courses also tick the autumnal feasting box, with a chicken ballotine with calvados sauce top of my list to go back for.
Admittedly we were so stuffed we disappointingly didn’t have time for dessert. The aforementioned crepe Suzette is accompanied by tasty treats including a four apple compote crepe and blueberry soufflé; next time I’d probably skip the starter and save space for one of these.
Laurel reviewed L'Ami Malo on Mon 01 Oct 2018