The cosy glow of Townsend restaurant is the type of vibe that makes you want to join the party even when just passing by the window. Found in the iconic Whitechapel Gallery building, it’s here that Nick Gilkinson (previously Anglo) and chef Chris Shaw (ex-Petersham Nurseries & BAO) run their own hospitality venture.
The food is reassuringly simple yet vivid in its seasonality, and the small plates format is made for sharing. The menu represents good value for money and while private dining parties are offered bespoke options, the main billing is delicious as is if you prefer to pick your plates from existing combinations. Starters of warm scones are a popular choice, which come topped with smoked mackerel pate and pickled red onion. Ozzy cheese croquettes are another winning serve alongside altogether fresher plates of tomato salads and an addictive dressed celeriac creation topped with cheese, truffle and hazelnuts.
Complementing the food menu is a short but perfectly formed drinks list that includes some lesser-known brands and interesting soft drinks too.
The private dining space at Townsend is completely separate to the main restaurant, with large glass doors that look onto the atrium of the museum. The décor is in keeping with the rest of the restaurant’s aesthetic. Think low-level lighting, panelled walls and light wooden chairs and tables. It’s a combination which gives off a cosy Scandi vibe and one that acts as the perfect backdrop to all sorts of occasions – from birthday parties through to client dinners. For larger scale events you can rent the restaurant in its entirity.
Service is chipper and helpful, with substitutions and special requirements all met with an upbeat response. When planning a private dining event with the team at Townsend you’ll be able to work with them to ensure you get the menu and decor just right. They’re on hand to advise on everything from the perfect tasting menu through to how to style the tables.