Mason & Taylor

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As an Australian I have always had a real appreciation for beer so I was excited to be invited along with my friend Sully to visit Mason & Taylor in Shoreditch. Mason & Taylor opened in December and is a real ale and craft beer bar which also does a range of small sharing plates that are a cut above the usual choices at bars. The bar is located on busy Bethnal Green road and big picture windows face out onto the road so patrons can watch the passers by and vice versa (it is Shoreditch after all!). Inside, the look is pared back and industrial with low hanging bare light bulbs dangling over tables and exposed wiring and pipes in the ceiling.

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Caramalised pear salad with the quail scotch eggs in the background
 
The beer menu is extensive and features beers from around the world including a mix of beers available on tap and bottled. They even stock gluten free beer which is something I have never come across before. There are also some more limited wine options available for those strange people out there who don’t drink beer. Out of the beers we tried, the best were the Hophead from the Dark Star Brewery (£3.20) and the Ginger Marble from Marble Brewery (£4.50). The Hop Head is the house ale and Mason & Taylor’s “favourite session beer”. It had a slight citrus tang to it and was refreshing to drink. The Ginger Marble was laced with real ginger giving it a great kick and almost warm burn from the ginger.
 
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Ginger Marble beer
 
From the concise food menu, the caramalised pear, walnut and Cropwell Bishop salad (£4) was spectacularly good for something so slight. The pear gave it sweetness, the walnut crunch and the Cropwell Bishop gave it cheese, an instant improvement to any dish. The ham, poached duck egg and parsley sauce (£5) was a bit more of a breakfast dish than a bar snack but did not really suffer for this and stood up well to the beers we drank.
 
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Food menus ready to go
 
Scotch quail eggs (£3) with gribiche sauce were served warm but the yolks could have been runnier. Cured loin of venison (£5.50) with redcurrants was like a British answer to jamon in Spanish tapas bars. The meat was just the right side of gamey making it perfect pub grub. However, another cold meat dish, the pickled ox tounge served with blackberries (£5), was overly salty and really too similar to the venison for such a small menu.
 
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Ham with poached duck egg
 
The sweet end of the menu at Mason & Taylor was limited to three dishes but the two we tried were both strong. Eton Mess (£4) was a lovely confection of creamy swirls while the tooth-melting chocolate pudding (£5) was probably the highlight of the whole meal.
 
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Pickled ox tounge
 
This is a bar for beer lovers and the food, while decent enough, is secondary. Still, Mason & Taylor has a nice relaxed atmosphere and offers something a bit different to the slew of recent wine bars in London.
 
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Chocolate pudding
Essentials
Details: Mason & Taylor, 51-55 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch E1 6LA (Ph: 020 7749 9670) Tube: Liverpool Street
Damage: Reasonable although I did not have to pay on this occasion.
6/10
 
Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of the new wine bar Brawn or just around the corner from Mason & Taylor you can try Pizza East.
 
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Mason & Taylor.
Mason & Taylor on Urbanspoon

15 comments

  1. Gosh that Ginger Marble looks great – only 10 days to go!! Come on Feb then I can enjoy such a drink! What was the Chocolate Pudding like?

  2. Love this. I am a beer lover and find that while it is a pub culture, most places just dont offer much variety. Thanks for the sugestion

  3. Ginger Marble is my favourite! And nice to see you big up The Dark Star brewery – it’s fab (and local)

  4. Hah! I was just there last night. Great little place.

  5. Lovely review – keep passing this place on the bus and kicking myself for not having been in yet!

  6. Sounds awesome. I like beer even though I am not Australian:) There are some excellent hand crafted beers in Australia.

  7. I was asked to review too and I declined on the basis that I don’t drink beer; seems I made the right move!

    It looks nice but I am sad it’s not Green & Red anymore; I really loved their verdita and their tacos.

  8. Ahh, this is what has replaced Green and Red. I’m with Lizzie – when I first moved to London, Green & Red was the only place where I could get half-decent Mexican food. I must have had their carnitas once a month for at least a year.

    Anyway, Mason & Taylor is close by my office, so I’ll have to check it out after work soon.

  9. Such a convenient spot for a post movie drink- we’re going a little Oscars nuts, so have popped in a couple of times…The Hungry One was mighty keen on the beer selection too…

  10. A great addition to the burgeoning craft beer scene (Draft House, Euston Tap etc) and as good as my old local (their sister pub) The Duke of Wellington in Dalston. Spot on with the Marble!

  11. A well written review with some beautiful photos – but I get to the end and realise from the somewhat vague ‘I was a guest of’ that it’s a paid-for review. I feel a little mislead, and I am sure I am not the only one who has been.

  12. Little Nomads – The chocolate pudding was excellent – a little crunch on top then gooey inside. A better choice than the Eton Mess which was the other dessert option.

    London Lady – It is nice to see beer drinkers being looked after in the way wine drinkers are.

    Graphic Foodie – Yes it’s a great beer isn’t it – really different.

    Greedy Diva – Look forward to your review…

    Gail – Interested to hear what you think.

    Three Cookies – I was being a little tounge in cheek there, as Australians our beer drinking reputation precedes us!

    Lizzie – Yes it was all about the beer! I did not get to visit Green & Red but I know a lot of people were fans so it is a shame they had to close.

    American in London – I don’t think it is a bar to cross town for but if you are in the area it is quite convenient. That said I probably prefer nearby Pizza East.

    Tori – Good to hear The Hungry One approves!

    The Pub Diaries – Yes good to see a bit of a beer renaissance.

    Jase – I’m sorry that you felt misled. It was not a paid for review, as in I did not get paid for writing it, but I did receive a complimentary meal. I did flag in the opening sentence of the review that I was invited to go to Mason & Taylor and then at the end of the review again that I was a guest. You can see in the “about” section of the blog my policy on accepting free meals – I don’t do it that often and I am always upfront about it in the blog. Some bloggers (and newspapers!) do not mention when they get a free meal or trip but it is something I feel quite strongly about mentioning as obviously if you are invited somewhere the service you receive is often quite different than if you were anonymous. That said, I try to be honest in my opinions (I said the drink was the main thing, and food secondary and only gave it a 6 out of 10). I hope you keep on reading and thanks for commenting.

  13. Feeling misled? Would anyone really feel misled? It seems clear to me that the meal was an invite and I don’t see anything wrong with this as it’s a great way for a place to get the word out. I don’t see a blogger saying something is good just for a free beer and some food. I will sing Mason & Taylor’s praise all day long for the simple fact that what they are doing is better than anywhere else in the area on all fronts. I’ll add I haven’t had any comp food or booze, I don’t work for them or in the industry. I’m just a fan.

  14. I am just now writing my review of M&T, we were there a while back, good to see that you enjoyed it too Cara. Hope you and James are enjoying the Abbaye!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  15. Pub Diaries – thanks for your comments on the issue – much appreciated and good to hear you are a fan of Mason & Taylor.

    The London Foodie – Look forward to reading your review!

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