It was the final Friday before Christmas, I had promised my date the week before that I would treat her to a romantic Christmas meal in town, but heavy work do’s and last minute Christmas shopping had distracted me from my promise and I found myself in a mad rush to find an available slot at a good restaurant. Call after call I was greeted with the same response, ‘Fully booked.’ Having no luck by phone, I consulted TripAdvisor which gave a great recommendation to a charming French bistro on Brick Lane – Chez Elles (ranked 10th best London restaurant) I immediately called them and thankfully managed to get the last table of the night at 21:30. I was in for a treat!
From the moment my date and I stepped inside the twinkling restaurant, we were greeted by a sea of stunning French waitresses who looked after us from start to finish. The ambience was very warm and lively, almost a little over whelming to begin with, but we soon became immersed in the festive cheer and delightful charm of Chez Elles. The decor is a work of art in itself; every wall is festooned with either a painting of a beautiful ingénue or adorned with hangings and miniature tea cups. The tables are quite closely situated so it does make for a cosy setting, but this is all part of its charm, one couldn’t help but get lost in the world of Chez Elles. While perusing the menu and chatting to my date I became so lost that I rather embarrassingly set fire to my menu, much to the amusement of my date and the waitress who calmly asked, ‘Can you still read what you want?’
To start, my date had a special of smoked salmon, avocado and crab with brioche and salad, which she tried but failed to finish (wimp). I opted for the artichoke and celeriac soup with truffle oil, both were large portions and rich, so hold back and make sure your eyes are not bigger than your belly if you don’t want to spoil your main! Speaking of mains I went for the Beef Tornedos, a large dish comprised of a steak sitting on top of a crouton with a slice of seared foie gras on top, it was huge, this was a man’s meal. My date had the lamb with hazelnut mash, while tasty she wasn’t too keen on the mash as it had large bits of hazelnut in which overpowered the flavour of the potatoes and took away their creamy texture, but the meat was tender and delicious. We were so stuffed that dessert was not an option.
When we asked for the bill, it was brought over along with a pot of penny sweets, a cute gesture which added a touch of humour. The head waitress came over and offered us a free shot of Anís del Mono which she recommended would help with digestion but also advised us to ‘sip’ rather than knock it back. A fantastic final act of generosity – the cherry on top to an overall wonderful evening
Whether it’s a first date or a special occasion Chez Elles is the perfect choice for a romantic, intimate meal with a relaxed feel, and personal service.