What: A classically-styled French bistro that’s opened on the former Oklava site in London’s Shoreditch.
Who: Bistro Freddie is being led by restaurateur Dominic Hamdy, who previously launched all-day restaurant Crispin in Spitalfields back in 2018 with Oliver Hiam; and natural wine concept Bar Crispin in Soho in 2021. Here, Hamdy has brought in chef Anna Søgaard to lead the kitchen, with Crispin head of wine Alexandra Price overseeing the drinks. Søgaard joins the team from Manchester restaurant Erst, and previously also spent time training in Copenhagen kitchens in her home country of Denmark.
The food: In a nod to its classical sensibilities, the menu at Bistro Freddie is presented in a hand-written font and is split between a range of snacks, starters and mains cooked on the grill. It’s a tight offering, and dishes are designed to be unpretentious and comforting, with Søgaard prioritising seasonal British produce. Highlights from the launch menu have included a Dorset snail flatbread with garlic and tarragon butter, and crispy chicken skin (£13.50); dressed crab with gribiche and lemon (£24); fried plaice with curry sauce and capers (£23); and a rabbit and apple cider pie to share (£38). Dessert, meanwhile, includes a steamed marmalade pudding with custard (£12) that looks likely to be singled out as the restaurant’s signature dish.
To drink: Price has developed an all-French wine list to accompany the food menu and has taken inspiration from her time managing the old cellar at Annabel’s in Mayfair, exploring a variety of styles, regions and producers. The list is extensive and includes more than 200 bins from across France. As well as being split into colour, the menu features sections dedicated to each of the country’s prominent wine-making regions including Beaujolais, Alsace, Loire, Rhone, and Languedoc-Roussillon. Price per bottle starts at around the £35 mark and can go as high as £400.
The vibe: Jermaine Gallacher has overseen the interior design having previously worked with Hamdy on the launch of Bar Crispin. Here Gallacher has opted for a more pared-back approach, delivering a classic old-school bistro aesthetic featuring starched white cloth and paper; leather banquettes; a lacquered wood barl and works from artists such as Ben Burgis adorning the nicotine-yellow walls. The layout of the site has changed little from the Oklava days and holds a total of 45 covers including a 12-seat kitchen counter.
And another thing: Hamdy named the restaurant after his father, Freddie, who he said schooled him in the art of ‘generous hospitality’.
74 Luke Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4PY