L’Hexagone Bistro Français | www.hexagonebistrofrancais.com
Sarah Hardy enjoys déjeuner à deux in the charming Norwich Lanes
Where did you go?
A friend and I met at L’Hexagone, a family run French bistro in the heart of Norwich Lanes, for lunch one Saturday. L’Hexagone is France’s nickname, based on the country’s shape!
What’s the vibe?
This is a charming spot, run with passion and care by husband and wife Thomas Aubrit and Gemma Aubrit-Layfield. It opened at the start of 2020 so it has been quite a tricky time for this ambitious young couple who have two children.
There are two floors and it’s all painted a deep blue, with an open kitchen on the ground floor, and original features, including a lovely fireplace, remaining.
Who’s in the team?
Thomas, from Burgundy, bosses the kitchen, using his family’s tried and trusted recipes. He learnt to cook with his grandmother, making onion soup, and his uncle was a butcher.
What do we need to know about the menu?
It’s classed as simple French food but is really rather special. Just the sort of food I enjoy – great ingredients, served with care, to authentic recipes. The menu is short, with a handful of choices, and changes frequently to reflect the seasons. Favourites include crème brûlée, steak frites, beef bourguignon, roast chicken and, when in season, mussels. You’ll enjoy the Franglais, too!
What’s the price range?
Dishes are priced from £6.50.
Available from 11.30 to 2.30pm, lunches feature several favourites including a crôque madame, a tart, salads, steak and a soup. My friend tried the crôque monsieur (£6.50) which was dripping with gruyere! She also had a portion of frites maison (£3) which I helped with, of course!
I went for a Salade niçoise (£12) which was much enjoyed with lots of sharp black olives, crisp greens, little anchovies, fat tomatoes, tuna and more – all in a nicely lemony dressing.
A nearby diner went for the bavette a l’échalote (£16) which came with those essential frites, greens and masses of yummy looking fried shallots. Next time!
Served from 6-10pm, le Dîner features a couple of the same dishes, including steak frites although more cuts of beef are available. There is also a tuna dish, a sea bream dish and grilled prawns on offer at present.
There are some much loved French classics including crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and panna cotta – plus a selection of cheeses at £10. I’ve had the brûlée (£6) which had a great crackling top to tap into!
What about dietary requirements?
The menu asks you to talk to the staff about any particular requests.
Tell us about the drinks
The wine list is a joy and worth spending a little time over. As you’d expect it is exclusively French!
Anything else we need to know?
The upstairs dining room seats up to 18 and is available for private hire. We reckon it would be a great place for a party.
This is a very charming place, with lovingly produced food. It is small and intimate and should go from strength to strength.