For the most part, we don’t care who opens a restaurant or cooks in it. Especially because the whole thing tends to get a little Lord of the Rings bloodline when something new opens. The Bistro, Son of the Restaurant, Sibling to the Wine Bar. That sort of thing. However we admit, when we heard that the folks behind P. Franco were opening Bright, we got excited.
Where P. Franco is a wine bar, Bright is a restaurant. And where P. Franco is like being at the world’s most lovely dinner party, Bright is what happens when your friends open a restaurant. We say this because the cool, casual, and confident atmosphere from Clapton has been seamlessly transferred to a much bigger space in London Fields. And, really, that’s the only difference between the two.
We’re glad they’re so similar though, because that means good things. Whereas P. Franco has visiting chefs who switch on a bi-annual basis, Bright’s are here to stay. Just like P. Franco though, the menu remains short, sweet, and always changing. This is food to take a punt on. Because the more risks you take here, the more you’ll be rewarded. Never had beef tongue before? Go for it. Especially if its combination with blackberry sauce makes you more unsure. That way you’ll be even more blown away. Equally, if summer beans sounds like one of those ‘let’s get another meat or fish instead’ dishes, then think again. These beans have got so much, but so little, going on - beans, parmesan, anchovy, walnuts - that you’ll frantically write down the combination for next week’s barbecue.
This isn’t really a restaurant to be frantic in though, ’cos the people running it aren’t. Seriously, these guys are trailblazers. Just modest ones. They’ve put a white bread sandwich on the menu, cut into squares that, sorry mum and dad, absolutely wipes the floor with all of your packed lunch efforts. This cool and confident approach is everywhere. There’s no explanation or stern recommendation of how many things to order. Nor is there the tell-tale dainty portions of a restaurant for restaurants. You know, the kind of places where a tenner gets you a single scallop that’s considered a sharing plate. No, these sharing plates are filling, delicious and plentiful. Because that’s what normal people want.
So much of P. Franco’s atmosphere feels bound to its intimate dinner party like space, but Bright shows that what these guys are doing doesn’t rely on where they are. This spacious out-and-out restaurant maintains all of the carefree quirks of its wine bar sibling, whilst serving some of the most delicious and original food in London. If you’re going to take notice of any restaurant family-tree, make it this one.
Pillow soft white bread, panko crusted pork, a dollop of mustard. This is the sandwich kids will be eating on the coach at 10am in 3018.
Light and delicious in a way fried things aren’t meant to be. We wouldn’t hear a peep out of Jamie Oliver if these were served in schools.
Aside from the two above, there are changing snacks. We’ve had a beef tongue in blackcurrant and a cold courgette and basil soup that are both mind-bogglingly delicious in their own ways.
We’ve had a raw tuna dish that’s made for summer. Bread is essential for the tomato sauce. A crab, almond, and olive oil dish is a chilled and rich bowl of lovely.
There’s always two pastas on here. We’ve had a spaghetti and salt cod, and a brothy veal agnolotti that have both been lovely.
Bright are very, very good at vegetables. From an enormous bull’s heart tomato salad to grilled onions and ricotta, it’s all completely 10/10. Oh, and those summer beans of course.
Turbot on the bone is great, and a boneless spatchcocked chicken with a hit of chilli is also great.
Desserts are decidedly summery: cold, fruity and refreshing. We’re looking forward to seeing what winter brings.