Bellanger is the new neighbourhood restaurant for the lucky folk of Islington from Corbin & King (the duo behind the Wolseley, Delaunay and Brasserie Zédel among others). It’s based in a former Browns, but what a transformation…
It’s all dark wood panelled walls, white tablecloths and rattan chairs; glamorous yet not at all imposing. The bar area was reminiscent of a train carriage, the rest felt like I was on the set of Noel Coward’s Volcano.
The menu is French, Alsacienne to be precise. We started with the Alsacienne tarte flambé (£4.95) to share, which was a thin, crisp flatbread topped with bacon and onion. The bread was light as anything; so flavourful and totally moreish.
Quiche lorraine (£6.50) was a giant wedge of slightly warm, cheesy perfection. Crisp pastry and chewy crust; you can’t beat a good quiche, that’s what I say. Gratin de rovioles du royans (£9) was cheesy ravioli drenched in spinach puree and topped with grilled cheese – a total winner if you’re a cheese monster. Steak tartare (£9.50) was a solid version of the staple.
For main, a giant pork t-bone (£18), the thickest I’ve seen, was cooked perfectly, as long as you like your pork rare. The meat was soft and tender with a layer of crisp fat. Veal schnitzel (£20) was both crunchy and moist – and giant too.
Those tartes flambées make a come back for dessert, the one topped with chocolate and caramelised banana (£4.75), shared of course, being the perfect way to end a truly brilliant meal.
The beauty of Bellanger is enough to make you want to spend all night there; we forgot for an evening that we were in the hubbub of Upper Street. We sipped our Poire William (that we really didn’t need), ate tartes flambées and were merry – the sign of a jolly good restaurant.