Counter 71

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Counter 71

Gold Award

Like most things in East London, Counter 71 is pretty cool. So cool, in fact, that from the outside, it resembles a restaurant in no perceptible way whatsoever. A small sign with the number ‘71’ etched next to the door is the only real marker that something brilliant lies behind.  

This is Joe Laker’s latest venture, an intimate chef’s table concept that hinges around a beautiful green marble, L-shaped counter. We take our seats alongside six other diners, watching transfixed as Joe and his team prepare 15 meticulous courses like a well-rehearsed play.  

Things start off at an exceptionally high level. Paper-thin taco shells filled with crispy chicken and a Caesar dressing, tangy sheep’s cheese tartlets, a miniature warm English muffin topped with smoky egg mayo, and a crisp croustade filled with chilli-spiked veal tartare are whittled out one after the other, each bite more delicious than the last.  

These are all incredibly good, but the penny really drops about mid-way through the meal when we’re presented with a resoundingly innovative tomato dish. The plate contains about six, blistered cherry tomatoes, each one cooked down to varying degrees of jamminess. One is sweet and caramelised, another juicy and tangy, all the while immersed in a sweet elderflower and basil dressing. It is fresh, nuanced and every bite brings a totally new experience.  

Every dish is wonderful, but a few really shine. Smoky eel in a barbecued emulsion with soft kohlrabi springs to mind, as does pearlescent cod steeped in a rich oyster cream, and elevated with the aniseed-y vibrance of lovage. Even the petit fours are perfect, including a feather-light fennel custard tart with a centre the texture of condensed milk.  

The wine pairing is a lot of fun too, with our sommelier taking us from English sparkling rose to a non-alcoholic tea, to a fruity Greek red designed to complement a duck and black garlic dish. 

What of the bill? All 15 courses are yours for £110, which is a fair price for cooking this stupendous.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Fine dining, Luxury, Quiet conversation, Unique
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Special Features
Chef’s table, Counter dining
Perfect for
Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Counter 71 is a chef’s table restaurant serving 16 covers a night from head chef Joe Laker. It’s his first solo venture in London, following roles at big-name restaurants across the UK, including head chef at Fulham restaurant Fenn until 2022, as well as Anglo, St Leonards and Roots. Located on Nile Street in Shoreditch, the intimate dining experience sees diners seated around a marble countertop which takes centre stage in the room. Elsewhere, an earthy green colour palette is employed throughout the restaurant, with textured accents including Japanese tiled footrests, boucle upholstery and concrete floors.

Counter 71 is Joe Laker’s culinary ode to the British Isles, offering a seasonal and minimalist tasting menu for both lunch and dinner. Intricate flavours are presented simply on the plate and adhere to a fewer-ingredient philosophy, while showcasing various preservation techniques throughout. The menu also highlights lesser-known ingredients from the British larder but that are available in abundance due to the warming climate, including citrus fruits and chillies.

The menu revolves continuously with the seasons, but a few examples of dishes you might try includes langoustine broth with pickled carrot, brown crab donut with scallop roe, eel tart with fried seaweed and Caviar, cheese and Marmite scone and poacher custard, and a chocolate parfait with yoghurt sorbet and buckwheat crumb.

The relationship between diner and chef is an important part of the experience at Counter 71, with Joe and his team serving dishes to guests themselves. Working alongside Joe in the kitchen is sous chef Michael Miles (Manteca, Fenn and St Leonards), while Harry Cooper (Fenn, Anglo, Picture) heads up front-of-house and curates the wine list. This includes a selection of new world wines and bottles from lesser-known producers, as well as vintage and premium options.

Both Counter 71 and Lowcountry Bar, a bar paying homage to the cocktail culture of the American South, are housed under the same roof at 71 Nile Street.


Who is the head chef?

Joe Laker.

Helpful? 0

How many people does the chef's table experience seat?

It seats 16 covers per sitting.

Helpful? 0


71 Nile Street, Shoreditch, London, N1 7RD

Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 18:30-23:00
Wed 18:30-23:00
Thu 18:30-23:00
Fri 18:30-23:00
Sat 18:30-23:00
Sun Closed


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