Corner Room is situated in the same building as Viajante – the rather grand Bethnal Green Town Hall (which is a hotel). Unlike Viajante, which has its own entrance, you access Corner Room through the hotel lobby. Nuno Mendez (head chef at Viajante) wanted to make a more relaxed and very affordable version of his Michelin starred restaurant and that’s how Corner Room came about.
Lunch reservations are taken but dinner is for walk-ins only allowing for priority to hotel guests and “locals”. The lunch offer seemed great value at two courses for £17 or three for £21.
The restaurant really does live up to its name – it simply is a corner room – but a very pretty one at that. Simply yet stylishly designed the restaurant was small but flooded with natural light. The atmosphere was very relaxed – the table next to us had a crying baby in a push chair which summed it up really.
Some white and brown raisin bread with seasoned butter started proceedings. The bread was absolutely delicious, we couldn’t stop eating the replenished plates. It was the lightest spongiest bread we’ve ever devoured.
The menu was presented on a single piece of A4 paper with six choices for starters and five for main.
My gentleman companion opted for the beetroot with goats curd and black mustard. Here’s a sentence that you will hear a lot in this review – the dish looked absolutely stunning. The chalky goats curd with the beetroot was the perfect combination resulting in a light and fresh tasting starter.
My pigs head with dandelion and parsley was a heavenly meat treat. The flakey pigs head was moist and tender with some blackened crispy bits like it had been blowtorched. The bitter dandelion contrasted the rich meat beautifully. Crispy pig skin puffs and hazelnuts added texture making this a delicious delight for my mouth.
My gentleman companion’s main of onglet steak with celeriac and tarragon was, surprise surprise, another stunner. The beef was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was tender, succulent, delicious, flavoursome, heavenly, wonderful – I’ve run out of superlatives! Fondant potatoes accompanied the beef which was all placed on top of a celeriac puree. Absolutely superb.
My main of Iberico pork and Portuguese bread pudding was the only main course with an added supplement. The waitress didn’t inform me of this or tell me how much the supplement was, but luckily for me, after reading a few reviews I knew it was only £3 – and it was worth every single penny. The pork was served medium rare (something I’ve only ever had at Tom Aikens restaurant) and it was incredible – the best pork I’ve ever eaten. The bread pudding was sweet and sticky with a hint of chilli. The carrots gave some much needed freshness to the dish – I just could have done with a few more of them. Oh and did I mention that it looked stunning?
Desserts were on a separate menu with just three choices. My gentleman companion opted for the apple and hazelnut with frozen pannacotta. A thick slice of poached then caramelised apple sat on top of the ice cold pannacotta with dried apple shards, an apple puree and cubes of apple jelly. A homage to the humble apple that would make Granny Smith proud. It tasted sweet yet savoury and was perfectly balanced.
My rhubarb with buttermilk sorbet and white chocolate was amazing. There were flavours and textures in abundance so every mouthful was pure bliss. Crumbly crunchy biscuit, sharp tangy rhubarb puree, soft sweet meringue, strips of poached rhubarb, ice cold soothing milk sorbet drizzled a fresh mint sauce. HEAVEN. And it looked stunning too, funny that. I couldn’t taste any white chocolate though.
At £21 for a three course lunch (plus the £3 supplement for my pork) Corner Room was an absolute bargain. The food was excitingly tasty and each dish looked like a work of art. If you haven’t ventured down to Bethnal Green before, the time has come. Corner Room is a fantastic restaurant for lunch (because you can book) and Viajante is an amazing restaurant for dinner. All in one building. Sorted.