We were very sad to see Oklava shut up shop in Shoreditch but the space’s new resident, Bistro Freddie, from the Crispin team, is a worthy replacement
The space has been cosied up, with dark wood panelling around the open kitchen, white tablecloths and pillar candles on the tables. It’s romantic, it’s warm and it would be just as at home on a Parisian street as it does on its little East London corner.
There’s a comforting, classical menu from head chef Anna Søgaard (ex-Erst) that nods to French bistro staples but with a definite British stamp on it. Made with pork and game offcuts from HG Walter and served with a homemade brown sauce, the house sausage, aside from being a mighty fine snack, sums up the Bistro Freddie approach – taking quality produce and preparing it with skill. It’s more of the same with the dressed crab, the lovely white meat sat on a brown meat emulsion and accented with a zippy gribiche.
Bistro Freddie has only been open a few weeks but the snail flatbread is becoming something of a signature and it’s not hard to see why. The earthiness of the snails isn’t overshadowed by the herb butter, shards of chicken skin add pops of crunch, and it’s all sat on an impossibly pillowy bread base.
The pie has also been getting a lot of love but bavette and peppercorn sauce is a hard thing to resist, especially when the meat is a perfect medium-rare and there’s a lake of properly peppery sauce surrounding it. Sides of exceptional fries and creamed spinach, still with proper leaves in and not just a green mush, are perfect for the steak but they also turn the fried plaice with curry sauce and fried capers into a fancy take on a chippy tea.
They give you proper portions here so the marmalade pudding was sadly off the cards for us but the spiced apple caramel sundae, with milk ice cream and creme fraiche offsetting the sweetness of spiced apple compote, coffee caramel and golden brandy snap, served in a classic stainless steel coupe, was a lovely way to finish.
With a sharp, defined and unpretentious bistro menu; a great French wine list from Alexandra Price, who also oversees the wine selection at Crispin and Bar Crispin; and generous, old school hospitality, Bistro Freddie knows precisely what it is and what it’s trying to do, and it (s)nails it.
74 Luke Street, London EC2A 4PY