Book now. The end.
There's a feeling you get when you're in the presence of excellence; a smile raising, heart warming, tear jerking flurry of emotions. It is a rarity, a delight and I had the privilege to experience it at Lee Westcott's Typing Room at The Town Hall in Bethnal Green this weekend.
Just inside the entrance to The Town Hall sits the restaurant where a hint of the Scandinavian is apparent in the elegant simplicity of the furniture, combining muscovado sugar wood and egg shell marble table tops.
The waiting staff are stylishly kitted out in jeans. That isn't to say they don't look smart, because they do; super smart with neat brown aprons and pale blue shirts. They're comfortable and it makes all the difference. We're relaxed from the moment we walk through the doors and as the restaurant fills up, it is clear that everybody else is too. This is an enviable environment and I'm pretty damn pleased I can add it to my list.
After absorbing the glowing atmosphere around us, we turned to the appropriate type written menu. Our adventure was beginning and we were on the edge of our seats.
To all the profiterole lovers out there, your lives will not be complete until these creamy courgette filled mouthfuls are in them. Sprinkled with black olives and topped with miniature basil leaves, I don't think there's any going back. Savoury profiteroles are officially the way forward.
Atop the crispy fish skin perched drops of smoked cod, oyster and dill, the combination of which blended in our mouths on each bite and packed a perfect pescetarian punch.
These little guys are something else entirely. Crunchy coated pigs trotter topped with a bacon and brown sauce jam, eaten in one meaty mouthful and dreamed of for hours to follow. Squeal-worthy indeed!
Now here's something else to call home about. Rye IPA sourdough with a moussy marmite butter that negates the universally acknowledged fact of marmite dividing the nation. I am a hater no longer, at least I wouldn't be if Lee felt like providing me with a lifetime supply of the stuff .. No? Worth a try eh!
My partner in crime chose the rabbit, heritage carrots and chervil which sent her straight into an etherial dreamland from which I'm pretty sure she hasn't returned from. I'm not sure I have yet either.
A choice that I wish I could make time and time again is selecting the scorched cod, pear and turnip. Scorch away my friend, scorch me to the moon and back. A light gin broth was drizzled over as the plate arrived at the table and delicately tied the dish together giving the sweetness of the pear, the crunch of the turnip and the saltiness of the cod that last little kick into heavenly realms.
And here comes the pud. Miniature puffs of meringue, nestled between blobs of toffee, mounds of apple and hazelnut sprinkled ice cream. This was one sexy dessert, infact the whole meal was pretty sexy and to our delight there was yet more to come!
Cheeeeeese! A lovely selection of just the right amount with a pot of sweet homemade chutney. We were liberal with our spoon exchanging, none of this Joey doesn't share food nonsense, we made sure we tried a bite of everything!
Our table was perfectly positioned in sight of the open plan kitchen where Lee Westcott and his team were making the magic. There's no crashing, clattering and sweatiness here, this is one hell of a smooth operation and the chefs bought dishes to the table with the same relaxed composure we felt from the moment we arrived.
Last but certainly not least, a pebble and a plank were placed in front of us. A flourish of chocolate, ganache, crisp cocoa and passion fruit completed our culinary adventure and we were left in a delightful, floaty state of true satisfaction.
We hopped across the hall to Peg & Patriot (more about this here) to reflect on our meal at a safe distance from the kitchen which we were both contemplating calmly chaining ourselves to. Each dish was sprinkled with a playfulness that was both refreshing and exciting. I have a feeling that Michelin stars may be just around the corner so watch this space and get on over before it becomes impossible to get a reservation.
Come on, anywhere with a chair as ridiculous as this in the entrance is worth a peep inside. Go on, you know you want to stroke it...