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»Denizens of Liverpool Road didn’t have long to bemoan the loss of their resident French restaurant when another sprang up to take its place.

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Aissette Anglaise, as its name suggests, is of the Gallic persuasion. It’s an intimate kind of place where the tables and chairs are arranged round an impressive central bar, behind which a mixologist shakes up an array of libation.

Our aperitif came in the form of a French Martini (obviously) and a fruity loosener it was too.

The menu is pretty small, with just five or six mains, but all bases are covered – meat, fish, poultry, veg, etc – and it all looked pretty enticing

Steak tartar

Restaurant info:

Assiette Anglaise

489 Liverpool Road

N7 8NS

020 7609 0300

Tube: Holloway Road

Web: www.assietteanglaise.co.uk

Mains: from £13

Wine: from £16.50

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: Yes, no toilet

To start we had a classic steak tartar, raw seasoned mince with an uncooked egg on top. Not a dish to suit everyone’s taste, but if you’re into that sort of thing that was a lovely example. It arrived perched on a home made brioche, though, and for me the sweetness of the bun didn’t work with the savoury meat.

With this we had the fish soup with Gruyère and rouille; a hearty, tasty broth and thoroughly cockle-warming.

Then we had the tender duck breast with white beans, bacon and, intriguingly, caramelised apple which was great combination of flavours.

But most impressive was the sea bass with a luxurious vanilla butter sauce; a combination I wouldn’t expect to work, but was in fact delicious as the sweetness and oceanic tang fought for the upper hand on my taste buds.

No trip to a French establishment is complete, I feel, without a visit from the cheese trolley. This one was a powerful beast, with fromage ranging from creamy Camembert to taste-bud tormenting blue. A lot of restaurants make a valiant effort to represent British cheeses on their boards, but a Gallic selection takes some beating.

Price-wise the menu is pretty reasonable, although be warned the portions are not huge and a side or two might be in order.

Assiette Anglaise is a funky, sophisticated place to eat with some compelling takes on modern French cuisine.

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