Yes, it’s far from cheap, but if you’re willing to pay for quality, your money will be well spent
There’s been some serious grub served up in Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel since its transformation in 2010. For a few years it was home to Michelin starred Viajante and chef Nuno Mendes, now in residence at infamous celeb hang-out Chiltern Firehouse. His defection allowed Typing Room to spring up under the guidance of executive chef Lee Westcott and with the backing of (yes him again) Jason Atherton.
Every detail counts at Typing Room. Prime example: the bread. Usually I wouldn’t even mention that part of the meal in a review but this was genuinely brilliant. The IPA sourdough and rosemary brioche were perfectly complemented by (get this) Marmite butter and chicken skin butter. If they ever release a recipe book, bread and butter at home will never be the same again.
By and large we’re tasting menu sceptics, invariably gravitating towards going a la carte. The seven course tasting menu sounded very erm… tasty and wasn’t horrendously priced at £70 but mixing and matching offered up some tantalising sounding dishes and saved us a few quid so it got our vote.
We began with ‘snacks’. These are the sort of nibbles you get for free at most top Michelin starred restaurants. Here they were an up-sell on the a la carte and were fabulous. I’d happily pay extra for them in every restaurant if this level of deliciousness could be guaranteed. Crispy fish skin, smoked cod, oyster & dill was evoked the nostalgia of a family trip to the seaside. Chicken wing ‘drumstick’, garlic & Caesar again took us back to childhood memories, this time the much maligned chicken Kiev. Thank you Bernard.
Raw beef, smoked beetroot, turnip, horseradish & sorrel was so good that I’m struggling to find superlatives. We just loved the different flavour combinations on the plate. Scorched langoustine, sweetcorn, dashi & lardo was worthy of a star alone. The broth was pure umami with the richness of lardo. Forgive me if this sounds like a gushing review but things were about to get even better.
Roast duck, spring roll, spiced mango & fennel was perfectly cooked and subtly Asian in its spicing, while Lamb, burnt aubergine, yoghurt & onion had more of a middle eastern influence, almost like the finest poshed up kebab imaginable. Having the fillet and lamb belly on the plate offered a good contrast in texture and flavours. Thus far they hadn’t put a foot wrong (end of gushing review).
Desserts can be a stumbling block for even the greatest of kitchens and on this evidence Typing Room is similarly afflicted. Chocolate, lovage & hazelnut lacked sweetness and could’ve benefited from something more cakey in texture. The chocolate was just a little too hard and bitter and sadly there wasn’t enough sweetness elsewhere on the plate to balance it out. Strawberry, pistachio & white chocolate was far better but it too failed to live up to the exceptional standard of the savoury courses.
Desserts aside, this was a near perfect meal. The service from our waiter was superb too, much better than we’ve had of late and it really makes a difference to the overall experience. Yes, it’s far from cheap, but if you’re willing to pay for quality, your money will be well spent here.
If they can sort out the desserts and keep up this standard on the the rest of the menu, sooner or later Typing Room will surely reclaim Viajante’s spot in the Michelin starred club.
Meal for two, food and service: £120
Meal for two, inc drinks and service: £181.13
Address: Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2 9NF
Tel: 020 7871 0461
Twitter: @TypingRoomVisit site