Situated on the first floor of the Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel, once home to Nuno Mendes’s much loved Viajante, this is somewhat of a hidden gem. Since Nuno upped sticks and went to Chiltern Firehouse (he’s opening his own restaurant in Spitalfields soon FYI), Corner Room hasn’t had much attention, so we thought we’d pop along for lunch.
On our Thursday visit we were the only ones there, which was a tad surprising. The dining room is a really beautiful spot; lots of wood, plenty of natural light, a wall filled with lampshades and a spiral staircase that leads to nowhere – there’s plenty to look at.
We started with some well-made sourdough (£2) with salted Jersey butter – which could have been a lot saltier for me. I’m not sure how keen I am on paying for bread either; I’d rather they just raise the price of the dishes a little and give you some for free.
The menu was small with just three choices for each course. To start, the mackerel, smoked passion fruit butter and cucumber was a thing of beauty. It was an intriguing blend of flavours to say the least; smokey, tangy, fruity, fishy, but they all blended together really well.
My raw minced beef and egg yolk came hidden below slices of kohlrabi. I prefer a tartare to have thicker chunks of beef personally as it has more texture. This had a very wet and sloppy feel to it. The addition of some chopped hazelnuts didn’t quite do it for me.
For main we both went for the pork tenderloin, smoked apple and purple sprouting broccoli. It was fine, but nothing spectacular. The pork tasted of pork, the apple of apple and the broccoli tasted like broccoli; it was about as exciting as that description. The pork was quite tough too; I suspect a casualty of the water bath.
At £19 for two courses, it was hardly bank-breaking stuff, but I have to say I was a little disappointed with Corner Room. I remember lunch a few years back and it was truly outstanding. On this occasion, it didn’t quite deliver.