London adventures: Dinner at the Corner Room

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

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.

The Corner Room

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.

 

The Corner Room

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.

The Corner Room

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.

The Corner Room

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.

The Corner Room

gariguette strawberries, shortbread, basil & black olive

 

The Corner Room

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

 

 

 

Further perusing

  • 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.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “London adventures: Dinner at the Corner Room

  1. Pingback: London’s adventures: from Satan’s Whiskers to the Nightjar | Tartines to Tikis

  2. Pingback: Peg + Patriot: You had me at savory Sazerac | Tartines to Tikis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s