Restaurant review: Corner Room, Bethnal Green

Corner Room

Corner Room - Credit: Archant

Nestled in the depths of Bethnal Green’s trendy Town Hall Hotel, the Corner Room is every bit as quirky as its surroundings – in both design and its cuisine.

One of the dishes at the Corner Room

One of the dishes at the Corner Room - Credit: Archant

The interior is simple but edgy, complete with retro spotlights hanging from the high ceiling, and the menu is an elaborate and experimental affair with combinations that leave you, at times, staring quizzically at the menu trying to envisage how the meal would work.

Thankfully, on arrival our experienced maître d’ talked us through the concept – ingredients that wouldn’t normally be associated brought together to create dishes brimming with different flavours and exciting combinations.

This imaginative way of cooking – almost a form of wizardry – is the trademark of chef Nuno Mendes, who also set up the other – far more pricey – restaurant in the Town Hall Hotel, the Michelin-starred Viajante.

And so we embarked on our culinary adventure, my friend starting with the sea bream, watercress and smoked chardonnay, while I opted for cured mackerel, Worcestershire ponzu and smoked tomato – and both dishes arrived at our table presented like a piece of art.

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My fish was beautifully fresh, with the intense mackerel flavour complemented a treat by the punchy, zesty accompaniments – and the caviar garnish made it feel all the more luxurious. The delicate flavour of the sea bream, showcased but not overshadowed by the bittery tastes of the green swirls of flavour surrounding it, also impressed my friend.

For the main event, she opted for the aged longhorn beef, tarragon paste, courgette and mustard. The fine cut of meat was bursting with flavour and cooked to perfection medium rare, but we weren’t so convinced by the rest of the plate this time, feeling that the accompaniments were ever so slightly on the harsh side.

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Meanwhile, my choice of Iberico pork, sour cherries and squid was a triumph. I had chosen the dish with a little trepidation having been told the meat would be served medium rare – due to the livestock’s entirely natural rearing in Portugal, free of any chemicals or pollutants. But my knife glided through the tender and flavoursome cut and, although I thought the pairing with squid sounded odd, it worked – and the sour cherries finished the dish off perfectly.

Like with the meat, the organic emphasis of the menu could also be seen on the wine list – our savignon blanc came from the Domaine La Coste, a vineyard which retains totally traditional practices and still has a horse and cart.

By the time we got around to dessert we could only manage to share on, but the apple and hazelnut pastry with frozen panna cotta didn’t disappoint.

Having never been to the Corner Room’s more famous cousin, Viajante, I can’t compare the two – but if you’re looking for a restaurant with a whole load of flair without the hefty price tag, then this comes highly recommended.

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