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Dishoom, Shoreditch

Dishoom Shoreditch

After the joy of Brindisa, it’s marvellous to see another of my favourite London restaurants open up a little closer to home too. Dishoom‘s original site (blogged here) is a sweetly kitsch recreation of a Bombay cafe in Covent Garden. It’s nice to see that for the new site on Boundary Street, Shoreditch, they’ve sized up and gone for a more area-appropriate grunge-luxe decor. The huge two-floor warehouse space is filled with mahogany room dividers, textured vintage glass and industrial metal lighting details.

Dishoom Shoreditch

We popped in on a gloomy Friday night just after their soft launch period ended. Without a booking we had a 40-minute wait for a table, but this was no hardship thanks to a cosy bar area and delicious cocktails – my chaijito was a great spicy twist on a classic mojito. Josh enjoyed a bottle of the house IPA, brewed especially for the restaurant by local Beavertown Brewery.

Dishoom Shoreditch
Dishoom Shoreditch

The menu is mostly grill-heavy with several marinated meat choices, plus lots of nibbly starters and some sauce-based ‘ruby murrays’ too. We’d been perusing as we drank, so ordered as soon as we were seated. The food arrived impressively quickly, complete with super tasty little chilli, coriander and chutney dips.

Dishoom Shoreditch
Dishoom Shoreditch

I’m a little ashamed to say that I ordered exactly the same as when I last went to the other Dishoom – I hardly ever do that but had to make an exception for paneer tikka, black dal and roti – why would you stray? It tasted just as I remembered from before: fresh, rich and deeply layered with flavour.

Dishoom Shoreditch

Josh got lamb chops and fabulous gunpowder potatoes which were soft and smoky. Service was a little chaotic (our credit card was temporarily lost after opening a bar tab) but given that it was the first real night after the soft launch, I forgive that – it was still efficient and friendly. I feel I’ll be back very soon.

The new Dishoom Shoreditch is at 7 Boundary St, just off Shoreditch High Street.

Brindisa Tramontana, Shoreditch

Brindisa, Shoreditch

Now that I’m finally over norovirus and a cold, I’m so ready to make up for lost time and start eating my way round London again. On Saturday we finally got around to visiting the new(ish) Tramontana Brindisa in Shoreditch. I was pleased when they opened up nearer home, replacing the sadly overrated raw vegetarian place Saf and meaning we don’t have to chance getting a spot in their small London Bridge restaurant any more. The new place is much bigger, and was almost empty on a Saturday lunch – I assume it’s busier on weekdays and for dinner.

Brindisa, Shoreditch
Brindisa, Shoreditch

The temptation is to go nuts with tapas and order way too much, and I might have done that. But everything was sooo good. A little bowl of soft, sharp goats curd was drizzled with honey and served with crunchy little breadsticks, and vivid green padron peppers were moreishly salty and smokey.

Brindisa, Shoreditch
Brindisa, Shoreditch

I loved the DIY pan de coca, which came with a perfectly ripe tomato, olive oil, salt flakes and cut garlic ready to rub on.

Brindisa, Shoreditch

Josh ordered the ‘Patatas Tramontana’: oven-baked potato stuffed with sobrasada – a chorizo-type sausage paste – and cheese with a crisply fried egg on top. It looked amazing: he practically inhaled it and I’m plotting a way to cook a DIY veggie version at home.

Tramontana Brindisa is at 152 Curtain Road, Shoreditch.

Tramontana Brindisa on Urbanspoon

Copenhagen eats

I found there were good eats to be had in Copenhagen -if you forget your wallet wincing painfully in your pocket. Yup, it’s as expensive as everyone warns you. But there’s a pleasing array of traditional Danish food alongside plenty of international options too.

Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen

On our first night we popped to Madklubben on the next street to our apartment. It’s modern Danish with a bit of Italian in style and quite afforadable at 200kr (about 22 quid) for 3 courses. We sat at the bar with a view of the open kitchen, and ate delicious rye bread and salted butter followed by gorgeously rich and buttery gnocchi with matsutake mushrooms and the heady scent of garlic and truffle. Our first-night meals on holiday are traditionally terrible so it was nice to break the habit!

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Corner Room, E2

Corner Room, E2
Corner Room, E2

Bethnal Green is a funny place: studded with gems like Hurwundeki, the V&A Museum of Childhood and the lovely Gallery Cafe, but still rough enough for me to spot a man snorting coke off a bus stop in broad daylight (yes, really). Nestled amongst all of this is the Town Hall, a decidedly upmarket hotel and boutique apartment complex which also houses two restaurants from ex-El Bulli Portugese chef Nuno Mendes: the fine dining Viajante and its baby sister, the more informal Corner Room. Since it was mine and Josh’s five-year anniversary we popped there for dinner on Friday.

Corner Room, E2
Corner Room, E2
Corner Room, E2

The small restaurant is beautifully done out with white subway tiles and vintage wood furnishings with stunning statement lighting. There are no reservations taken so we were prepared to wait for a table, but we got seated immediately at 7pm and the restaurant filled to a buzzy three-quarters full as we ate.

Corner Room, E2
Corner Room, E2

You know it’s a good sign when even the free bread and butter is mouthwatering: I think the bread must have been freshly baked and the butter tasted hand-churned and properly seasoned with lots of salt and pepper. The cheapest bottle of white wine – a French sauvignon at £28 – was absolutely delicious, and unlimited filtered water is offered for £1 a head.

Corner Room, E2

There was only one vegetarian option for each course so my decision of what to order was easy. Starter was beetroot with goats’ curd, accompanied by crisp spring green leaves and a grassy-tasting green puree. It was beautifully presented and tasted cold, fresh and zingy, perfect for the summers’ night.

Corner Room, E2

My main course was Jerusalem artichoke with enoki mushrooms and asparagus. I think it was my first time trying Jerusalem artichokes: they had been charred which left the skins tough but gave the insides an amazing smoky barbecued flavour. The sauce was a wonderful combination of silky mushroom with acidic lemon cutting through it. A really clever, exciting dish.

Corner Room, E2

The portions, though flavour-packed, are small, so we had room for a dessert each. Rhubarb with buttermilk sorbet and mint was good, but the star was the stewed apple with frozen pannacotta, which contained surprise chunks of apple jelly and fudge – wonderful. They even make a good coffee – rare for any restaurant!

Corner Room, E2
Corner Room, E2

We both agreed it was one of the best, most interesting meals we’ve had lately. At around £50/head for 3 courses with wine it’s great value for high-end dining in a lovely informal setting with charming service. Brave Bethnal Green and visit it.

Corner Room on Urbanspoon

The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras

The Gilbert Scott

I was invited to try the Gilbert Scott, a new London restaurant from Marcus Wareing housed in the glorious St Pancras station. It was a treat just to visit place and have a peek at the adjoining Renaissance hotel – it’s breathtakingly grand, although sadly we couldn’t nose much as most of it is ‘for guests only’ and prowled by security. Instead we were ushered into the bar for a pre-dinner cocktail.

The Gilbert Scott
The Gilbert Scott
The Gilbert Scott
The Gilbert Scott

The bar is so decadent and ornate, you feel like you’ve stepped back to the Twenties. The cocktails are not the typical offerings – I had a concoction of green tea, ginger and lemon, with some smoked popcorn to nibble.

The Gilbert Scott

The dining room is equally grand, but comfortable and cosy. I’d describe the menu as refined comfort food – fish and chips, artichoke tart, sides of mash and homemade baked beans, that kind of thing. Vegetarians are very well catered for with several options for each course and a host of side dishes.

The Gilbert Scott

I found it tough to choose what to have, but went for courgette flower and tomatoes to start. The tomatoes were fresh and full of flavour but I wish the flower had been filled with some kind of cheese – those things beg to be stuffed!

The Gilbert Scott
The Gilbert Scott

For main, Josh had lamb neck with broad beans, asparagus and a rich sauce. I went for mushroom cobbler which was extremely flavoursome, rich and creamy, topped with melting cheese-infused pastry discs. Yorkshire puddings were a hit but the kale was gritty – big no no.

The Gilbert Scott

Prices at the Gilbert Scott are high (£16-20 for mains) but I think the wonderful setting, generous portions and charming service justifies them. I’d love to go back to the bar for a cocktail or afternoon tea!

I was a guest of the Gilbert Scott for my visit

The Gilbert Scott on Urbanspoon