Neil Frame 01/07/23
Bellanger | Classic Islington Brasserie
Bellanger’s been on a bit of a rollercoaster.
It opened in 2015 to broad acclaim & stellar reviews, but sadly had to close the doors a few years after. Then the pandemic hit and weirdly gave it a chance to reopen – this time as a pop up. And the response was so overwhelmingly positive that the powers that be have decided to take the hint and swing the doors once more, this time permanently. But only after giving the place a whole new look, and a whole new menu, of course.
The restaurant’s new look has taken all the elements of the old Bellanger, and given them all just a bit more polish. You’ll enter a spacious area at the front that spills in a gloriously continental way, through concertina doors, onto the terrace overlooking leafy Islington Green. There’s a huge, pewter-topped bar, behind which smartly dressed barkeeps stir together light, apéritif-style cocktails with unmistakably French flavours like Suze, Pernod and lavender.
Venture in a little further, and you’ll find yourself enveloped in warmly wood-panelled walls decked out with striking vintage posters, and lined with intimate red leather booths. Even the bathrooms give you the impression of being in an art deco first class train carriage. Basically, if this restaurant were a person, you’d want to go out with them.
The menu’s previous focus on dishes from Alsace has been replaced with a thoroughly Mediterranean lineup. And let it never be said that when dining at Bellanger, you won’t be fed well. Starters are generously sized, from the seared mackerel fillet with slices of fennel to the heritage tomato panzanella salad, and steak tartare with quail’s egg and sourdough toast. Then the larger stuff spans the likes of a hearty Andalusian fish stew (with squid, clams, mussels & chorizo); a sizzling clay pot of squidgy aubergine parmigiana; and some crab linguine with crayfish butter sauce. And if you yearn for the old menu, then fear not: they’ve included a couple of throwback classics like flat iron steak frites, and the hot chocolate mousse (but take our advice, and get the exceptional apple tart for dessert).
It’s all utterly convivial, and the one thing that hasn’t really changed about Bellanger is the service, which is still second to none. And the kicker? They’ve brought in a little entertainment too, with London-based DJs taking the decks for a spin each Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Looks like third time really is the charm.
NOTE: Bellanger is open daily – you can make a booking and find out more at the website right here.
Bellanger | 9 Islington Green, The Angel, N1 2XH
Looking for al fresco dining? Check out our list of the best outdoor dining spots in London
9 Islington Green, Angel, N1 2XH
View On Map
8.4 | Great
Got A Tip? Email [email protected]
Log In to add this to My Saved Articles
Not a member and want to find out more then click here
7 Day Free Trial
Member Log In
We rely on member reviews to help keep The Nudge honest, accurate & continually up to date with the very best of London - so thank you!