To quote Renée, “You had me at hello”, or in Coupette’s case, “Bonsoir”. A smiley Franck welcomed us with a wave and a thumbs up, before fluking a ridiculous coaster trick as he sat us at the bar – something that he repeated with the next arrivals, much to his surprise. From then on we were in the capable hands of Daniel, a former head bartender of 69 Colebrooke Row, who guided us through Coupette’s French-leaning food and drinks menu. Think calvados, cidre, cocktails and croques.
Coupette is the brainchild of Chris Moore, the former head bartender of the Savoy’s renowned Beaufort Bar. What was once The Albion pub, a no frills boozer on Bethnal Green Road, is now a stylish neighbourhood bar and kitchen. As usual, I recommend that you settle down in front of the bartenders, especially as their bar top is covered with vintage 10-Franc coins. The cocktail menu, complete with French folds, is a work of art. Here you’ll find champagne pina coladas (which were flying out), truffled white negronis, alpine gimlets and more, often showcasing specialist French spirits and liqueurs. They don’t take it quite as far as Le Syndicat in Paris, but they’re pretty committed – ask them about their Amer Picon. A simpler drinks menu offers French wines, carefully chosen calvados, cidre and poiré from Normandy, and beer. French beer has proved hard to bring in, so it’s a local list for now. I’d love to see Brasserie de Sulauze’s Ta Mère Nature on there, or perhaps they might relax their borders and bring in some lambic from the Belgians.
All of this is complimented by Chef James Allen Thompson’s food menu, which kicks off with a quartet of croques before moving on to plates of braised lamb shoulder, smoked eel, and duck fat potatoes with hollandaise. The dishes are mostly the same for weekend brunch, but with crucial additions of a “Full French” breakfast, truffled scrambled eggs, and a next level bacon sandwich – an excuse to return if ever I saw one. À bientôt, Coupette.
Coupette – coupette.co.uk
423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN