14 Artillery Passage, London E1 7LJ www.lamimalo.com
Tucked away in one of the charming City of London historic alleys is elegant crêperie L’Ami Malo.
Opened a few months ago, it takes the traditional values of a classic French crêperie and revisits them with a contemporary twist.
Started by two friends (Emilien Lesourd and Vincent Couvreur) with a lifelong love of Breton food and passion for the humble buckwheat, L’Ami Malo is steeped in traditional gastronomy, culture and seasonality.
Much of the inspiration for L’Ami Malo comes from the traditional French town of St Malo, which is famous for its crêpes and galettes. Here, locals use buckwheat in their dishes where possible – favoured for its healthy, versatile and gluten-free properties. The menu at L’Ami Malo elevates it at its core.
It’s a little dark, but with a pleasant ambience with small tables and subdued hues which make this venue stand out as quite different from the rustic, traditional shops of Brittany. The kitchen takes centre stage and is in plain sight of the dining room.
Low, warm lights shine down on each table making the atmosphere quite intimate. At the back of the restaurant, a bar showcases seasonal cocktails and craft ciders from Brittany and Normandy.
The menu offers a wide choice of starters as well as mains, all based around the classic galette.
We decided to share one of the buckwheat ‘maki rolls’: an actual crepe rolled and cut like a sushi roll. We picked smoked salmon, capers, shallot, dill, keta caviar, Crème fraîche.
These are large portions and made for sharing. We liked the taste and the delicate filling but we felt the rolls suffered from having been pre-made and chilled, and they felt a little heavy.
Our two mains were from the galettes options (they also offer traditional crepe).
These were also large portions and filled generously. Asparagus and wild mushroom, poached egg with truffle hollandaise sauce was indulgent, decadent and full of flavour.
Just as generously filled was Morteau sausage, leek fondue, new baby potatoes, whole grain mustard galette, however the sausage itself is quite heavy, and the mustard sauce very rich, making this a wintry, filling dish, perhaps not ideal on a hot summer’s lunchtime.
A wide choice of desserts complete the offering; classic crepe suzette, ice creams and sorbets as well as some original take on classics.
We opted for citrus cheesecake, poached strawberries, pistachio sablé Breton where the traditional sablé base is topped by a creamy, large quenelle of lemony cheesecake and delicious, summery poached strawberries.
While we’ve had more buttery and crumbly sablé on location, the whole ensemble was a delicious end to the meal, with refreshing citrusy notes to cut through the rich cream.
While we washed down the food with a sparkling, sweet, refreshing and authentic Normandy cider (served in terracotta cups, the real thing), we then closed the meal with a pretty decent coffee.
With service unobtrusive and friendly, L’Ami Malo is a welcome addition to an area full of chains and take away, and feels a bit like stepping away from the City of London and straight into France.