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French in Islington - we try dinner at Assiette Anglaise

What can you tell me about Assiette Anglaise?

It's a new French restaurant in Islington from the same people behind popular local cafe Le Peche Mignon on Ronalds Road in Highbury. Their new joint is an all-day affair with a similar focus on French food.

Where is it?

The restaurant has taken over the spot left by former Islington favourite Morgan M at the top end of Liverpool Road (the nearest tube is Holloway Road). With this new opening, they've taken the opportunity to completely revamp the place. This has involved installing a huge front window which completely brightens up what was formerly a fairly dark interior. In addition to this, they've added a central bar section with a few spots for counter dining.

Where should I meet for a drink first?

There are a couple of nearby spots that are worth checking out. First there's the Lamb on Holloway Road, a newly revamped pub that serves craft beer and regularly hosts street food stalls. Alternatively, there's the Duchess of Kent, a few minutes down Liverpool Road, a decent gastropub from Geronimo Inns.

And where should I sit?

If you can, we'd recommend grabbing a table at the front of the room near the window. As they're planning terrace seating soon, grab one of those tables if the sun is shining.
Alternatively, the bar seating is perfect if there are just one or two of you.

Is bread included?

It is indeed, with each diner given a personal selection of bread rolls and generously salted butter.

And what should I order?

Assiette Anglaise is an all-day restaurant, so you can pop in from breakfast onwards.

We opted for dinner, on the second day of service (there was still a soft launch in place when we went). It may have been early days, but the cooking was at a particularly high level for a neighbourhood spot (the chef has previously worked at Racine and Petrus) and we had some cracking food. We kicked off with steak tartare on brioche which was faultless and a lovely late summer dish of poached lobster with deep fried artichoke hearts.

For mains, the assiette of duck, with white bean, bacon and caramelised apples was beautifully put together but the sea bream fillet with green beans, trompette mushrooms, pumpkin puree and vanilla butter sauce was the dish to envy - the creamy vanilla working particularly well with the bream. We also really loved the generous sides of dauphinoise potatoes for just £3 each (yes we had one each).

Desserts, particularly the the lemon tart and yoghurt sorbet, impressed too and we left wanting to return and try much more of the menu (particularly the Assiette Anglaise charcuterie plate and brunch which is now up and running).

And how about drink?

We started with a frankly perfect French martini from the Aperitif list (£7.50). We were criticised on Twitter for ordering this allegedly out-of-fashion drink, but frankly who cares when something tastes this good? Wine-wise, it was an interesting list for this area, with Picpoul (£21.50), Gruner Veltliner (£27.50) and our choice was an excellent Verdicchio (£26). Wines started at £16.50 a bottle or £4.50 a glass. Camden and Kernel beers are also on the list.

Overall thoughts?

As @hotdinners and @hotdinners2 both live in Islington, we're always particularly excited when a new restaurant turns up in our neck of the woods - something has to challenge the impossible to get into Trullo, after all. We were cautiously excited about this new opening and are happy to report that it's a great new addition to the local scene. If you live nearby you should definitely check it out (it would be a perfect pre/post Arsenal game restaurant too) and we think it's also worth a trip across town to. There's clearly talent in the kitchen, a good wine list and a friendly and eager to please front of house. It should go down a storm.

489 Liverpool Road, Islington, London, N7 8NS - Tel 020 7609 0300. Find out more.

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Hot Dinners was invited to dine at Assiette Anglaise and ate there during a soft opening period. Prices were correct at time of writing and are the undiscounted price.

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