Flamboree Brings Tarte Flambée To London - But Whatever You Do, Don't Say 'It's Like Pizza'
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'Oh, so it's kind of like pizza then?'
Saying that to the proprietor of Flamboree about his tarte flambée was probably a mistake, in hindsight. He gets quite defensive, explaining, that yes it's pastry and toppings, but it's most certainly NOT pizza. And he's got a point. There's no tomato base. There's no mozzarella. And the pastry is an entirely different, thinner texture. However, pizza is a useful reference point for Londoners uncultured in this Alsatian culinary staple — just know that a flambée is so much lighter and healthier.
We try two different 'Flams' (that's what the menu calls them). The meat laden Charcut-oree and The Royal Levantine (a vegetarian feast). The former makes three totally different meats dance together with ease in a salty delight. The appearance of dijon mayo plays a clever trick on us, making it taste like the dish has cheese on it, despite its complete absence. This is healthy food, remember — well as healthy as anything containing bacon lardons can be. The latter flambée lives up to its Middle-Eastern name with tahini, pomegranate and za'tar. However it's the feta and veg that overpower most of the other flavours — it's tasty, but lacks subtlety.
The aforementioned lightness and healthiness of the tarte flambees is completely negated by our next two decisions. A side of raclette cheese over baby new potatoes, grilled vegetables, and cornichons arrives at our table in a boiling hot frying pan with the cheese still sizzling. Unusually the pinnacle of the dish isn't the cheese — though dear god is that stuff good- - it's the miniature teardrop chillies. A pinch of heat added by an adorable looking vegetable.
Then, our second decision: dessert. We try a Flam-smoree — Flamboree goes in heavy on the punning — a dessert flambée. It's heaven — the white chocolate chips and crushed biscuit are two standout participants in this grand slam of sugar. It's superior to any monstrous chocolate pizza we've ever had the (mis)fortune of trying. Then there's Grandma-Ma's New Man, which the menu describes as fruits steeped in rum. Steeped does not do justice to the booziness of these fruits. They're drowned in it. Not that we're complaining, just be warned these are alcoholic enough to make you think twice about sitting behind the wheel of a car after a portion.
At the end of the meal we're pretty confident of what constitutes a tarte flambée and the benefits it holds over pizza. The main one is how much more accessible it is as a lunch dish — you're not weighed down at the end of the meal. At least that's the case if you manage to dodge the mighty raclette, and the dessert flambée.
Flamboree, 154 Old Street, EC1V 9BP.
Last Updated 02 May 2019