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The Blue Legume Review

Josh Learner lunches in Stoke Newington and reports back

Written by . Published on November 8th 2011.


The Blue Legume Review

ANY trip to Stoke Newington is pleasant depending on your penchant for life’s more affluent luxuries. Vintage clothing shops, edgy pubs, boutique records shops and last but not least, the rather charming Church Street – all waiting to seduce you from your venture into north London’s middle class bubble. Seduction is something that excites me though, and I exited Clissold Park onto Church Street embraced for a French kiss with Stoke Newington’s finest Parisian bistro, Blue Legume.

Those yummy mummies were jealous – I was sure – I could see their eyes deter away from their conversation about the latest high-tech pram their husband’s were going to buy them for Christmas.

Img_035Stoke Newington does France pretty well

If the outside is anything to go by, my lunch date and I were about to enter a scene from Amelie – French all over, with a rich blue exterior accompanied by bold green, red, yellow and blue wooden chairs underneath the awning. The front room is dark and filled with small tables and French paraphernalia. It became apparent I was already seduced on aesthetics alone, and we hadn’t even ordered any wine yet. When we eventually did, ordering an agreeable bottle of pinot grigio (£14.50), we were in the back conservatory sitting in a dining room full of Stokey’s yummiest mummies.

The Blue Legume is slightly different to your conventional catering establishment in that it’s a café by day and a bistro by night. The big blackboards on display show a wide range of fancy breakfast options. It took me a while to work out that the lunch menu was the lunchtime special menu. Where was the lunch menu? I thought specials were specials, not at this place apparently. It also took me a while to work out that you had to order from the counter, no table service then? Not so, luckily the waitress took a liking to us and gave the full works – wine refill, a smile and the delivery of two main courses.

Img_018Lamb shank, chewy on the outside and... chewy on the inside too

I had ordered lamb shank, cooked in tomato sauce served with potato (£9.95), and my date – free range chicken breast, with roast peppers in ciabatta and salad (£6.95). The lamb certainly looked the part and the sauce looked good too. And whilst the meat came off the bone seamlessly, the lamb was overdone on the outside giving an uncomfortable chewy texture. As for the vegetables in the tomato sauce, it was nice but nothing to write home about. I had to add a lot of salt to get any sort of flavour on my palette. A little bland but by no means a disgrace.

On the opposite side of the table the chicken breast was cooked perfectly with the fresh ciabatta and thick cuts of green and red pepper. Apart from the lack of salad dressing on the garnish it was a simple dish done very well.

Img_009Free range chicken breast on ciabatta

Feeling rather hungry still, our thoughts immediately turned to dessert swiftly making our way to the glass cabinet by the counter. An inevitable argument unfolded due to the fact that we both wanted the crumble, sitting there like the god of all puddings. I resentfully bowed down being the compassionate man that I am, instead ordering the homemade tiramisu (£3.25), and my date, the apple and wild berry crumble (£3.25).

Img_029The delightful homemade tiramisu

My initial fear of jealousy was confirmed when the crumble came to our table served in a deep-ish round pot with a side pot of cream. The crumble on top was sumptuously crunchy and the inside full of soft and sweet fruit – the cream providing the cigar. My tiramisu was equally impressive thankfully enough – a perfect balance of sponge and coffee cream as well as being generous in portion size.

Those yummy mummies were jealous – I was sure – I could see their eyes deter away from their conversation about the latest high-tech pram their husband’s were going to buy them for Christmas. I felt smug until I sipped my glass of white wine, a bit like accidentally drinking beer when you’ve been drinking cider, an unwelcome mix.

Blue Legume certainly has its charm and accommodates the lunchtime diner well. The food isn’t spectacular but more than acceptable. The desserts are fantastic and the staff very cheery. Just as long as you know that this isn’t a flashy restaurant, but it’s not remotely trying to be either.  


The Blue Legume

101 Stoke Newington Church Street 
London, N16 0UD


Rating:            13/20
Breakdown:       6/10 food
                        4/5 service
                        3/5 ambience

Follow @josh_learner on Twitter

 

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1 – 5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6 – 9 get a DVD, 10 – 11 if you must, 12 – 13 if you’re passing, 14 – 15 worth a trip, 16 –17 very good, 17 – 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: We get carried away.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Nicole DalamagasNovember 9th 2011.

I love the Blue Legume and will defend it until the end!

AnonymousNovember 9th 2011.

Dalamagas!! i don't know who you are but I don't find your comments very agreeable.

The La la laDecember 2nd 2011.

Wher the he'll is Stoke Newington?

AnonymousDecember 2nd 2011.

North east London

AnonymousDecember 2nd 2011.

Looks like THE LA LA LA's spelling is LA LA LA LA LAME!!!!!!!!!!

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