A quick restaurant review of Blixen, a new brasserie in London's Old Spitalfields Market. Open breakfast through to dinner expect European classics with a twist such as Croque Madame, grilled sirloin with Cafe de Paris butter and crispy pork belly with spatetzle, kale and quince.
European brasseries are all the rage and new to Spitalfields is Blixen, a welcome relief from the mostly chain-run eating places in the market building. Set in an old bank, it is light and airy on the ground floor with a promise of outdoor tables for summer and a moodier downstairs cocktail bar for evenings. You can eat (and drink) here all day and well into the night. Sit at a bar overlooking the kitchen and watch the chefs, in a booth on the main floor or on a raised plant-filled platform tucked in the corner that looks like a wedge of colonial Singapore.
Blixen has a lovely feel to it, relaxed yet buzzy and the menu with brasserie classics with a British twist such as white onion soup with cauliflower rarebit and souped up dishes like Croque Madame made with raclette and duck egg suit it perfectly. A starter of squid, chorizo & chickpea stew was loaded with a healthy dollop of saffron ailoli and crumbed ox tongue looks like non-threatening crisp, meaty nuggets beside their accompanying celeriac remoulade. Main course sea bream is served with good quality creamy white beans, broccolini and hazelnuts and crispy pork, a melting slap of belly meat with a crunchy roof of crackling with fried spaetzle, quince puree and kale.
Puddings include a nicely bright green pistachio ice cream with lovely crunchy sugared pistachios and lemon shortbread and a crème brulee with prunes. If you are not drinking try a house soda; both the cranberry and vanilla and lemon, raspberry and dill were excellent. Cocktails do just as well before or after a meal, the Ferule Mule mixes citrus vodka with lemon thyme, ginger and fennel bitters and there is a selection of local beers from Hackney, Bermondsey and Bow.