Les Nénettes, Clapton: restaurant review
Filled with joie de vivre, duck breast and plenty of cheese, Les Nénettes brings class and contemporary French cooking food to a sunny corner of Clapton
What's the draw
Grab your beret and start practising your best "Ooh la la", because Clapton's new(ish) kid on the block is Les Nénettes, a modern French bistro with a quaint setting on the corner of Clapton Square. Flying in the face of the locale's verve for all things vegan, this isn't a straight-up hipster-style joint, but it's cool, cute and serves bloody good food. Les Nénettes is French slang for 'girls', and the restaurant has an emphasis on female staff at front- and back-of-house.
What to drink
You'll find a couple of perfectly pitched cocktails on the menu to get things started – we had a delicate, vodka-based aperitif called 'La Vie En Rose' – but really, it being French and all, you need to pay attention to the wine list. Yes, everything hails from L'Hexagone, and yes, it's all excellent. We ploughed through more than a few glasses of a moreish blanc sec 2016 from the Chateau Clement-Termes vineyard in the Gaillac region in the South of France. The blend of sauvignon blanc, mauzac and loin de l'oiel grapes made for a fresh and fruity serve – delightful for warmer weather.
What to eat
We'll let you in on a secret: chef Emilie Fuller isn't actually French. But don't let that fool you – this is a place to launch yourself, open-mouthed, into the classics. That means frog's legs, given a twist with a spicy buffalo marinade, and magret de canard duck breast. But it also means plucking off the juicy petals of a globe artichoke and dipping them into savora vinaigrette, as well as ravioles de romans – tiny, thumbnail-sized parcels of joy, cooked in butter and served with crunchy veg – and gorgeously garlicky polenta topped with seasonal greens and a confit egg yolk. And because this is a French restaurant, there's simplement no way you're leaving without the noir et blanc chocolate mousse, or a full-blown cheeseboard (or both). Trust us, you'll make room for them.
Wines from £21 for a carafe; mains from £13.50. 19 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NS; lesnenettes.co.uk