I am lazy. If it was not for my friends visiting from US, I probably would not be bothered to head East for food, especially when the destination was a restaurant that does not take bookings. In this case, my friends decided to head there early to get a table. When I arrived at 7pm, the place was still not full so at least it was not a frustrating start to the evening.
Corner Room is the breakfast room of a boutique hotel, which was converted from and named after The Town Hall in Bethnal Green. It is strange to see such a smart hotel in a scruffy neighbourhood like this. I think in modern terms, that is ‘hip’. Like its big sister Viajante, Corner room is also run by Chef Nuno Mendes.
The dining area was lovely- simple and full of light. There was a lot of seafood on the menu. We had Mackerel with melon, pistachio & gooseberry granita (photo above) and Stone bass ceviche & broad beans (2 photos down) as starters. They were fresh, firm and well-seasoned. Though the mackerel was served in a curious straight line, offset from the centre of the circular plate. I did not realise at the time, but it was actually a preview of the bizarre presentation style that was to continue throughout the whole meal.
For the main course, we ordered Pork and Portuguese bread pudding (photo below) and Lamb loin with baby vegetables and herbs (2 photos down). We discovered that the chef misplaced the pork with the lamb. If you look at the photos you can see the meats are on the ‘wrong’ plates, other than the taste, it was a fairly obvious mistake/switch, that could have been picked up at a glance as no one would serve pork that rare! This fortunately seemed to be a lucky accident as the dishes actually worked better as the bread pudding was buttery and salty. It matched the medium rare lamb which was tender but light.
By the time we got to dessert (photos below), I was officially bugged by the over the top presentation. I could accept that the ‘line of food’ was presented off the centre. But what was the point of the central circular recessed area of the circular plate? It was distracting from the purity and it was totally unnecessary. Why couldn’t they serve the Dark chocolate with peanut butter ice-cream on a flat plate or a flat piece of slate?
I like anything with pineapple so I enjoyed the initial taste of the pineapple foam on top of the last dessert- Caramelised fennel with pineapple & smoked pastry. However, as the flavour developed, the fennel resembled the flavour of liquorice, which I hate. Yuck!
7 women showed up half way through our meal. As the dining room has white tiled walls, the space became unbearably noisy. Despite that, and the annoying presentation, I think Corner Room is a great place to eat. I like its £1 only surcharge for bread, olive and sparkling/ still water. We wandered around the hotel after the meal and there were a lot of curious old objects (photo below).
I recommend going there during summertime as when we finished, the sky was still bright. I felt it was far safer for me to walk back to the tube station in daylight.
Dinner for 2- £70, including service charge and £1 per head charge for unlimited still & sparkling house water
Address: The Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square
Tel: 020 7871 0460