Redchurch Street is a little street just off Bethnal Green Road and is unexpectedly filled with the most adorable little shops. I wandered down it the other day looking for the Swanfield Pop-Up Boutique only to find that everything had finished by 6 pm. Tired and thirsty, and desperately trying not to ruin my freshly manicured nails, I popped into Franzè & Evans, a newly opened Italian deli near the boutique.
Franzè & Evans was set up by art lover Nicolas Franzè, lawyer Clare Evans and beauty therapist Theresa Lococo with the aim of serving up quality Italian home-cooked food. As their web site puts it, you'll find Theresa cooking in the kitchen, Nicolas at the counter, and Claire overseeing the cafe, doing the things the Italians can't or won't do.
What first drew me to the cafe was the display of Bialetti Moka Express espresso makers in their window. Also, the cafe was nice and bright, the perfect antidote to the dreary, grey rainy weather that East London had just experienced. And, there was a can of brightly-coloured tulips on every table, which was definitely a nice touch.
The stacks and stacks of Italian food on the shelves was also a major pull factor; I just love delis, even if I never buy anything from them, as I generally feel they're priced a little past the point of reasonableness. I didn't check the prices of these guys, so I can't comment on whether that's the case here.
Small cappuccino (£1.90) and biscotti (£0.25)
I ordered a skinny cappuccino and a biscotti; I wasn't very hungry, and as I mentioned earlier, I was incredibly tired - a nail session lasting over two hours will do that to you - and just wanted some place I could sit down before I caused further damage to my nails.
The cappuccino was decent. I don't think I paid too much attention to it, as I was very thirsty and I was also engrossed in reading Zoe Heller's short story in The Observer magazine.
And seeing as I've mentioned them twice already...Freshly manicured nails
All in all, Franzè & Evans was a good place to chill out and just luxuriate in the pretense of being a tai tai for a few minutes. It's located conveniently near Brick Lane (it's less than two minutes walk from where Bethnal Green Road meets Brick Lane), but just far enough away that it's not too noisy, it's large enough (unlike most coffee shops which don't have much space for more than five people to sit down), it was nice and bright and, best of all, it opens till late-ish. What more could you ask for on a lazy Sunday evening?
Franzè & Evans
101 Redchurch Street
London E2 7DL
Tel: 020 7033 1910
Open Mon to Sun from 8 am to 8 pm