Corner Room

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If you have plans for this evening, cancel them.  Instead get yourself down to Nuno Mendes’ latest offering the Corner Room.  There is no website, no telephone number and no bookings taken.  The restaurant is hidden away in the back corner of the Town Hall hotel in Bethnal Green.  I arrived on a rainy night with my friend Claire and we were instructed to walk through four sets of doors, turn right up the stairs and then left past the giant moose head made from carpet (!) to find the restaurant.  It’s almost like they don’t want you to find the Corner Room, but it is worth persevering because the food is phenomenal.

Stuffed olives

 
Once you actually make it to the restaurant, the space is lovely.  The walls are wood panelled then topped with the sort of white tiles you see in the tube and a collection of vintage lights hang against the back wall.  Just to add a touch of quirkiness there is a spiral iron staircase that leads to nowhere.  It’s all very simple and pared back, just like the one page menu which offers four choices of starter, main and dessert.  The wine menu is equally concise and has a total of 11 options all available by the glass and the bottle.  Our favourite was the subtle but spiced Vigneron d’Estezargues, Les Galets.

 

Squid

The service was charming, easy and efficient and also knowledgeable.  I was impressed by the fact that each time we deliberated over wine our waiter brought us over some to taste.

Mackerel with rhubarb granita

To start, our waiter brought us squid with Jersey Royal potatoes and fennel (£6).  The squid was lightly grilled leaving it still springy and sitting on a bed of its dark velvety ink.  The potatoes were crisp while the fennel added aroma alongside some crunchy samphire.  Slivers of oily mackerel (£6) were cut through with the sweetness of a scattering of hot pink melon and rhubarb granita.  All in all, a little bit weird but it worked.

Portugese pork and bread pudding

Lamb belly (£12) was soft and deliciously fatty alongside perfect, tiny “true baby” vegetables and a smear of salsa verde.  It was brilliant but even better was the pork and Portuguese bread pudding (£12).  In what was a contemporary nod to Mendes’ heritage the pork was moist and pink with a topping of extra leftover fat known as the pluma. Contrast was added through crumbs of fried bread which had been cooked in herbs and chilli until they were crunchy and crumbly.

Lamb belly

We finished by sharing two desserts.  Blueberries with goats cheese caramel, brioche and shiso (£5) was lacking in blueberries.  The main component of the dish was actually a granita which wasn’t listed on the menu.  Nevertheless, the dessert was actually quite tasty with an unusual mix of granita, berries and toasted brioche.

Blueberries with goats cheese

Really though it was all about the dark chocolate and peanut butter icecream (£5) which was a deconstructed assortment of crumbles of dark chocolate along with rich icecream and shards of peanut toffee.  It was a real mix of indulgent textures and tastes.

Dark chocolate and peanut butter icecream

We had an absolutely stonking meal at the Corner Room.  The food was confident and instinctive while keeping a feeling of spontaneity.  Each new dish was a delight.  Best of all, the prices were an absolute steal.  There is really no excuse not to go.

Essentials
Details: Corner Room, Town Hall Hotel, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9NF (Tube: Bethnal Green).
Damage: Reasonable.  Our bill for three courses including quite a bit of wine was £73.
9/10

Links
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Mendes’ cooking with Murakimi Kinoshita at The Loft Project or for more foodie fireworks try Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner.

 

14 comments

  1. this looks amazing, and so cheap! I better get myself over there before it becomes too popular.

  2. It really is that good, isn’t it? When we popped over there was a lamb with miso and macadamia crust. It was so good, I almost cried.

  3. Wow, those look scrumptious. How interesting he’s popped up in another form!

  4. YESSSS you have convinced me it’s time to revisit!

  5. Looks so good. Why oh why didn’t they open this place before I stopped living 5 mins down the road…

  6. I went a couple of weeks ago and loved it too – that lamb belly and the peanut butter chocolate dessert were both fab!

    The Friday night we went, the service was a bit shambolic, but also very sweet, which I can handle. And anyway, the wait for a table wasn’t an issue as we whiled away our time having cocktails in the Viajante bar!

  7. I just came back – I rushed there straight after reading your post. Loved it. Everything was delicious, especially the dark chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. Thanks for the tip off!

  8. Ute – Yes quickly!

    Tori – Hope they bring that back on the menu, sounds amazing.

    Hungry Female – Always good to pop up in a cheaper form as well in my view

    Hanna – Well your post convinced me to visit so it is only fair!

    Kay Salter – It is always the way isn’t it…

    Sharmila – We went to the bar as well for a post dinner drink, lots of fun.

    Butters – So glad to hear you liked it. Yes that ice-cream is divine I think.

  9. great post, making a booking when I’m next time in London..

  10. All the dishes you had look amazing.
    Am totally there this weekend. Nom Nom Nom.

  11. Yes! We had a dinner there yesterday night and its was wonderful!!! The Iberico port was the super star of the meal!
    My only regret is having chosen the raspberry dessert. It was really lovely but seeing the pictures and comments on the ice-cream (which was my choice too untill my other half pointed out he’s not a chocolate fan – we were sharing the 3rd course..)…. I cant help but want to go back!!! 🙂

  12. And yet for those who’re about to venture into the Corner Room: do check the bill before paying. Its only now that I’ve actually looked at it and realised they’ve charged up for the wrong (and slightly more pricey) wine choices.. Beware! 🙂

  13. Slow service (over an hour) and we got food poisoning. Wasn’t even that cheap either. Very disappointed – the worst place I’ve ever been to.

  14. Vivre – let me know what you think….

    Gourmet Belly – they were!

    Ziupsnelisdrukos – Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal but good tip to keep an eye on the bill

    Anon – really sorry to hear that, I had a great meal there so sad to hear your experience varied so much.

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