I don’t know what it is, but French restaurants seem to get a bit of a flak for being snooty, here in London. They are seen as being a sort of grand affair to go to. But what if you love the food, but want a more laid back vibe. Well I think I’ve got your answer. Petit Pois in Hoxton, a laid back French bistro with a lot of charm.
Whilst it might not be a restaurant known to you yet, you are probably aware of Happiness Forgets; Petit Pois sister bar. Recently named one of the 50 best bars in the world (Can we just get a woop woop here?) it’s been a fixture in the East London drinking scene for a while now, so I was interested to see how food would fare from the same minds.
It’s pretty small inside, with roughly around 5 tables and 3 booths, so it’ worth booking in advance. The small size gave it a real intimate feel, but with the exposed brick and simple wooden tables, it had that chilled feel to it. Almost like when you go to an upscale café in France.
The menu is short and sweet, just the way I like it. A couple of months ago I went through a Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare binge phase (if you need a laugh, watch the Amy’s Baking Company episode on YouTube- you’ll thank me later) and he actually said a short menu usually means that everything is going to be great as they can really concentrate on those few dishes.
Me and Helen decided dive in with Chilli Crab Croquettes and a Pissaladière. A Pissaladière is sort of like a tart, topped with caramelised onions, olives, garlic and anchovies.
Upon first bite, my face lit up. The flavours were incredible. The salty bite from the anchovies and the sweetness from the onion worked so well together. The crab croquettes were also delicious. Crab can sometimes be a bit bland, but the crumb mixture was seasoned beautifully.
Jumpsuit: Missy Empire
Helen has been just the most amazing friend to me recently, so it great to just go out, catch up over a bottle of wine and chill out.
Also how amazing does she look? Well jel as the saying goes!
For mains Helen went for the classic Steak Frites with Béarnaise Sauce, whilst I went for my favourite; Roasted Pork Belly with Celeriac Purée, Carrots and Thyme Jus.
And it did not disappoint. The pork belly was so so tender, and as cliché as it sounds, it really did just melt in the mouth.
But for me the standout really was the dauphinoise potatoes. Oh boy oh boy are they good! Hearty, classic French food, done oh so well. I haven’t raved about a place as much as this for such a long time.
I mean come on, look at it. I didn't even have to work hard to take a good photo.
Now, by the end of all of this, we were pretty darn full. But I'd heard rumours on the interweb that there was a chocolate mousse so delicious, the famously angry Jay Rayner said it was "serves a mousse of utter perfection". Bloody hell, if he says so, it must be good.
Now it may not look like a fancy pants dessert, because it isn't. It comes in a big bowl that's been freshly whipped up, and the waiter literally gets a ladle and dollops a mound on your plate. I wish I'd known as I would have taken a photo but I was unprepared. Bad blogger.
It can be pretty hard to sum up feelings when tasting desserts without sounding a little pornographic. So I'll just say BEST. CHOCOLATE. MOUSSE. IN. LONDON.
Petit Pois really stole my heart. Amazing food, down to earth relaxed atmosphere and actually the waiters are such cuties, it just makes for a great low key lunch or dinner.
By the end of our very long lazy lunch, we found yourself in hysterics over God knows what. But you know what? That's the best kind of lunches.
Perfect. Or as the French would say, Parfait.