This Friday, as Andy Taylor and his team prepare to open the doors to their new restaurant on Mare Street, Carte Blanche will be giving away free fried chicken and caviar to the first one hundred diners. The opening will mark the return of Le Bun co-founder Andy Taylor to the London restaurant scene. Following an early career as a musician which saw Andy take to stages around the world, including supporting The Who at the Royal Albert Hall, he brought award-winning burgers to the UK with street food favourite Le Bun, and hosted a sell-out pop-up with Kelis along the way. This year, Andy will bring his signature style to East London, combining indulgent French flavours with American comfort food classics.
Taking the phrase ‘Carte Blanche’ as his mantra for the Mare Street opening, Andy has created gluttony-emboldening dishes, that combine staples of households across the Midwest and Southern States with an appreciation for Gallic flavours. To kick things off, diners can begin with briny Oysters, Caviar Hollandaise and Maple Bacon, along with a southwestern spin on Paris bistro classics: Foie Gras and Escargot Tostadas. Inspired by the culinary scene and heritage of Nashville, diners can follow with lip-burning local specialty Hot Chicken in a soft white bun, or unctuous Pork Jowl, Smoked Beets and Butter, cut through by bitter capers and blood orange.
The natural wine list is inspired by the wines Andy enjoyed – or perhaps over-enjoyed – in the back-street bars of the French capital, with unusual pours from small batch artisan producers, including Brendon Tracey, an ex-punk bringing his punk ethic to wine making. Cocktails will follow suit with classics being given the Carte Blanche revamp: diners can sip on a Beurre Noisette Whisky Sour and a French Negroni, trading in Dubonnet for the standard Campari.
The 50-cover restaurant will be a modest, stripped-back space with a collection of abstract, print-based artwork hung on the walls, and simple white tables lining the dining room and an open kitchen allowing diners to see Andy and his team at work. For those after a quick bite, there will be wooden stools by the bar area to knock back a cocktail or two and satisfy your appetite with some smaller dishes from the menu.
“I want to create a place where you can get caviar on your fried chicken, with a glass of great wine and maybe rounded off with a glass of whiskey,” said Andy. “Carte Blanche will be a relaxed space, with anything from AC/DC to Old School Hip Hop on the stereo and exciting French American cooking on the menu which is no longer limited to burgers.”