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Somewhere you should go… Bouchon Fourchette, Mare Street

In the last two months, Hackneyites may have noticed that among the fried chicken and chips, kebab shops and Chinese takeaways that litter Mare Street resides a new and unlikely French cafe that’s become an instant hit with the locals. Bouchon Fourchette serves easy French faves as casually as they can come, unlike the pretentious-style you’d come to expect from  those restaurants that may offer up authentic coq au vin, steak tartare and duck confit, but without BF’s effortless cool.  Interiors are modest, staff are warm and friendly, Marvin Gaye plays in the background, while on the menu, escargot is simply called  “six snails in their shell”. Plus, you won’t pay more than £12 for a beautifully-presented main.  “I wanted to show the simple side of France – on a plate,” says the owner Dorothee Gaschignard. “It’s about that rustic, feel-good food you’d eat at home.”

Friday and Saturday nights are pretty road-blocked here, but if you’re in the area, pop in on a weekdays for their £7.99 lunch special, or for Sunday dinner when it’s a little bit quieter.  We loved our simple ham and cheese sandwich with a side of frites, but promised to come back for the baked camembert de Normandie (which has got us written all over it!).

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