Restaurant Review: Oui Monsieur

Recently revamped, the former Oui Madame stands out from the Dalston crowd

Stoke Newington/Dalston is no stranger to try-hard, trendsetting restaurants, with £6 Red Stripes in the back of a done-up skip – sorry, “pop-up bars” – never more than a stone’s throw away, but Oui Monsieur is different, offering the kind of charm, food, service and ambience you don’t find very often.

The former Oui Madame has reinvented itself as its bigger, more confident older brother, Oui Monsieur. It’s set right between Stoke Newington and Dalston, and as it has few worthy rivals in the area, you feel like you’ve stumbled across a diamond in the (middle-class, liberal) rough.

After we took our seats, the owner, a charming gent, introduced himself and talked us through the menu. I started with the signature, recommended cocktail, the gin-based Oui Madame, and my plus-one had a rum-themed La Pucelle. Both were absolutely delicious. The menu is split into vegetable, meat and fish dishes, with each dish constituting a small main – a sort of French tapas, I suppose. We were recommended to try six between us. We started with gouda cheese sticks (did what they said on the tin, but that’s no bad thing), a ciabatta and goat’s cheese plate, mange tout, squid, steak and the lamb chop (after seeing it saunter past our table, giving us the eye). They were all gorgeously prepared, cooked and presented, and bursting with flavour – honestly some of the best food I’ve had living in London the past four and a half years. The tapas-style service meant that dishes kept arriving whenever they were ready, which helped make the sense of anticipation – and the meal itself – last. I was genuinely devastated when our last dish came, but six was the perfect amount, as it left room for pudding: a rich, warm chocolate pudding and a cheesecake.

As we sat back with our house red wine (also very tasty), Oui Monsieur had the perfect atmosphere: low lighting, soft music, with guests coming and going like old friends of the owner, which was lovely to watch. The room past the bar is a bit more spacious and would work for larger parties – I felt like customers having a three-course meal, a light bite or just a few cocktails could have sat comfortably side by side.

After dessert, we were shown downstairs for a look around. From Thursday to Saturday there’s a club night hosting electro/house music. The place looked perfect for it, with nice decor and the occasional pineapple popped on a table – I will be trying it out soon.

I’m not sure the Soulmates Blog believes in star ratings, but this place would get five from me. It was one of the most enjoyable nights out and meals I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. Oui Monsieur – I’ll have another.

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