The Corner Room is a restaurant at the Town Hall, a boutique hotel in Bethnal Green in East London. At the time of my visit, the restaurant was in transition, with its star chef Nuno Mendes having recently moved on to Chiltern Firehouse, and his Michelin-starred restaurant Viajante, also at Town Hall, closed for an update (it has since been reopened as The Typing Room with chef Lee Westcott at the helm).
The Corner Room has a calm and casual vibe, with attentive service and extreme attention to detail. There is a lot of emphasis on the ingredients, with preparations that highlight them in unique ways with the use of other elements for little pops of flavors or texture. The dishes are delicate and refined. The small plate format gives an occasion to try a larger variety of dishes. The restaurant reminded me a bit of Relae in Coppenhaggen (this is very high praise, as Relae was one of my most memorable meals in recent years).
Beavertown 8 Ball rye IPA
I started off the meal with some bread and a bottle of Beavertown 8 Ball rye IPA, an American-style IPA brewed in London. It was caramel-colored and had a nice mix of spicy rye and resinous hops. Very impressed, I will make sure to look for more of Beavertown’s offerings during future London trips.
From bottom left, clockwise: sweet pickled mackerel & beetroot tartare; jersey royals, wild nettle purée, egg & ikura; bream with fermented buttermilk & apple
The first salvo of dishes included a potato dish, a tartare of pickled mackerel and beetroot, and a bream dish. The little Jersey Royal potatoes came with fresh fava beans, a nettle puree which had an acidic bite like sorrel, a rich orange egg yolk, and trout roe for a burst of flavor. A comforting dish. The bream was at the opposite end of the sprectrum, amazingly delicate and almost etheral, surrounded with a tart broth and “spaghetti” made from green apple. There was something incredibly refreshing about this delicate fish paired with green flavors. The 2011 Arès Blanc wine from Languedoc had a good balance of minerality and stone fruit, and enough richness to pair well with the various dishes.
sweetbread, roasted salsify
For the mains we tried the cod and the sweetbreads. The sweetbreads were tender and creamy, and accompanied by earthy roasted salsify. The cod with sprouting broccoli and wild garlic was another standout dish. The cod had been shortly cured in a mixture of sugar and salt before being cooked at low temperature, concentrating the flavors and resulting in a beautiful buttery texture. Pieces of shattering crispy skin provided contrast.
cod, sprouting broccoli, wild garlic & almonds
Based on the recommendation from the waiter, I decided to order the dry-aged pork dish that was served with roasted onions and little spiky artichoke hearts. I was initially planning on ending the meal with the rich pork dish as an umami-laden “dessert”, but got (easily) convinced to try proper desserts of the sweet variety.
dry aged middle white pork & spiky artichokes
The Gariguette strawberry dish with shortbread was charming although a bit predictable despite the presence of black olives as a salty counterpoint. The chocolate dessert with hazelnut and lovage was the way to go to end on a high note.
gariguette strawberries, shortbread, basil & black olive
chocolate, lovage & hazelnut
Menu, April 27
jamón Ibérico 15
burrata, heritage tomatoes, lardo & basil 10
crispy pork skin & winter tomato 6
calçot onion in XO sauce, pork emulsion 6
courgette mousse, raw pea & belper knolle 7
scallop, cucumber and grapefruit 9
jersey royals, wild nettle purée, egg & ikura 8
sweet pickled mackerel & beetroot tartare 7.5
bream with fermented buttermilk & apple 8
jerusalem artichoke, erbette & Payoyo cheese 7.5
sweetbread, roasted salsify 10
roasted celeriac with wild rice & cep dashi 10
barbeque poussin, black pepper glaze & cauliflower 12
cod, sprouting broccoli, wild garlic & almonds 15
dry aged middle white pork & spiky artichokes 16
lamb breast, chickpea, green olive & artichoke 16
gariguette strawberries, shortbread, basil & black olive 6
chocolate, lovage & hazelnut 5
British cheese plate 12
- A similar technique to prepare the cod is described in this recipe from chef Nuno Mendes
- Nuno Mendes demonstrating a rainbow trout dish with potato noodles
Recently I’ve had a chance to spend a bit of time in London, currently one of the most exciting food and drink capitals. This post summarizes part of a trip that took place in April; see previous posts for Part 1 and Part 2.