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Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square
PERMANENTLY CLOSED JUNE 2018
Believe the hype surrounding the Typing Room’s chef Lee Westcott: talent-spotted by Tom Aikens and Jason Atherton (his backer here), this twentysomething whizz-kid is destined for the stars. But if ever a restaurant owed its success to the entire team from designer to sommelier, receptionist to lowly commis, this flagship dining room in Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel is it. Every detail is considered, from the welcoming aperitifs and flowers to the Marmite butter, pre-meal snacks, racy wine pairings and by-the-glass sakés. Five- or seven-course tasting menus promise a carefully paced homage to new Nordic cuisine with impeccable British ingredients taking centre stage, from Herdwick lamb with St George’s mushrooms and nettles (a veritable ode to the English countryside) to an unlikely dessert of beetroot, white chocolate and black olive, via attention-grabbing seasonal ideas such as scallops with green strawberry, lardo and sorrel or duckling with apricot, runner beans and mustard. Typing Room’s stylish Scandi-esque interior will endear it to scruffs and suits alike, particularly at lunchtime when £29 pays for three courses.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square
Cambridge Heath Station 316m
Bethnal Green Tube Station 366m
Genesis Cinema 1km
Victoria Park 1km
Tues-Thurs 6-10pm Thurs-Sat 12N-2.15pm Fri-Sat 6-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
We've been meaning to eat here for a while, but though its been on our list for an age, it never quite made it to the top. Mostly this is because its not an easy place to get to from where we live west of London. And then a week ago I read that the Typing Room was closing, firmly and irrevocably- at the end of June and immediately called to get lunch reservation. And so it was that we walked in today, after a car journey, two tubes, a walk and a bus- and very much ready for lunch.
At first glance it doesn't look like a place that's going to serve great food - its institutional heritage is all too obvious before you even enter the dining room, and its a bit gloomy in some places, but its comfortable enough and most of the tables have a bit of space around them. But I can be a lot more generous about the food. We each chose a 3 course set lunch ( there is no a la carte) with additional "snacks" up front. The way it worked out we ate seven different dishes. There were no disappointments, nothing that didn't work- despite the fact that some of the combinations you'd struggle to find anywhere else . So creative, interesting, unusual , but not sufficiently odd to make you think " this one might not work". The cooking is individual and clearly has been thought about a lot, but it's not weird. What it is, uniformly, is very good. Its in our view at least as good as many of the restaurants that have gained a star, and having been there, having eaten or tasted virtually the whole menu, we're very surprised that its never been selected for a star. We had a very good lunch eating food a whole grade higher than we'd anticipated. Decent coffee, very good bread with marmite butter topped with what was described I think as pearl barley but which looked and tasted rather like toasted ricicles. They might have offered another go at the bread, for it was truly delicious. We had a bottle of the cheapest red on the menu , which despite a not terribly helpful Sicilian name turned out to be a very good, very tasty nero d'avola which believe me was notably better than you'd get by the glass at the pub. It was however the only red under £30, and I'm forced to repeat yet again a mantra that restaurants aren't working terribly hard to deliver good win values these days. The bill was £116 with service, which we were happy to pay for food of this quality .
We left with mixed feelings, for we'd had a very good lunch that we'll never be able to repeat, or even revisit. I understand that the chef, Lee Westcott may well reappear in due course with a restaurant of his own. Lets hope so, because he can certainly cook - and even the "variants" they turned out as my wife doesn't eat cream were of exemplary standard. I'd probably eaten his food before as we enjoyed Tom Aikens - another place we enjoyed that isn't there any more. Anyway I shall keep my eyes open.
I had a 3-course lunch menu for £32, which is extremely good value for money. To kick off the meal I started with the crispy fish skin, smoked cod, oyster & dill, followed by the crab, radish, celeriac & rock samphire. Both were really outstanding and had very interesting combination of flavours. What blew me away, however, was the venison, cabbage & yoghurt. The venison was cooked to medium rare and was extremely tender and juicy. The cabbage on the side gave a bit of crunchiness to the overall taste and the sourness and lightness of the yoghurt added the most perfect finishing touch to the dish.
Food + drink: 5
A great Menu inspired by Lee Westcott with perfectly matched wines from sommelier Fred Marti together with excellent service this was indeed a fantastic dining experience. A lovely friendly welcome and a nice glass of champagne while we looked at the menu and as in previous visits we chose the Tasting Menu but this time we also chose to have matching drinks I say drinks because it was a mixture of wine & saki . After having some delightful snacks came the first highlight the fantastic IPA Sourdough bread with Marmite butter I'll just say it's amazing. Then came the first course of Dorset Char an absolute delight this was followed by the signature Cauliflower dish it's just unbelievable what you can do with this vegetable. This was followed by the highlight of th e Menu of Cod , calpots , chicken & black garlic such a fantastic dish next was the main course of Pork Collar , hospital cabbage & baked apple simply delicious. We then went for the cheese course it was a lovely selection of cheese which was matched with a Plum Saki . Finally dessert of Sheeps yoghurt, apple & dill which finished a truly great meal. All the staff were very friendly & professional making our lunch very memorable & already thinking of returning very soon. I do like the open kitchen and it's amazing that despite so much going on to produce amazing food the kitchen was so quiet. I would definitely recommend a visit if you like modern food cooked to perfection & some great wine & service
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