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.
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.
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.
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.