Nestled in the historic Whitechapel Gallery, Townsend offers a constantly changing, loosely British menu with some truly outside-the-box creativity and a wine list to match. The relaxed, wood-floored dining room offers a casual yet refined setting.
The word seasonal, in some cases, has lost its meaning. This is not one of those cases. Head chef Chris Shaw brings together staple British ingredients with more obscure finds to create exciting plates that feel as fun as they do elegant.
For lunch, an a la carte menu allows diners to mix and match a selection of its tasty small plates, while in the evening a set four-course menu takes its place. Examples include options like Red Leicester croquettes with pickled walnut and Maldon rock oysters with fermented chilli. Large plates cater to carnivorous, pescetarian and plant-based customers with hearty mains like roast mallard with stuffed onion, trout with mussels, and potato and squash dumplings respectively. Desserts follow in the above footsteps with highlights like a pear, hazelnut and brown butter tart or rum baba with pink navel oranges and fennel flowers.
Townsend’s set menu’s don’t disappoint with entries such as crab salad with fennel, orange and dill or celeriac with wild mushrooms and egg yolk. Each dish comes with an optional pairing, which and the finishing touch to a simple yet sophisticated culinary journey.
The drinks menu covers all the bases with room to spare, from aperitifs like Vault Vermouth, and Negronis, strong red, white, rose and sparkling selections and a five-year-old Somerset cider brandy or espresso martini to round things off.
Service at Townsend is extremely welcoming and attentive, in part thanks to the co-owners being in the midst. For what you get, Townsend is very reasonably priced, especially the set menus. This is the perfect place to while away a morning, or dine for an evening with friends.