It’s official, E2 9NF has fast become my favourite postcode in London. Not only is it home to the indisputably marvellous Viajante restaurant, which I have blogged about before here, but it also houses the rather elusive Corner Room. I say ‘elusive’ mainly because if you don’t hear about it from someone else you’re unlikely to know of its existence.
Corner Room doesn’t have a website (you automatically link to Viajante’s website if you hunt for it online), and although it does have a Facebook page it is sadly is lacking in both content and appeal.
However, what Corner Room lacks online, it more than makes up for in reality.
Upon entering the achingly cool and contemporary Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, you head upstairs to the first floor and, if like me and D, wander the corridors blindly hoping to discover this well-reviewed dining spot. Finally having found the Corner Room (unsurprisingly located in one of the corners of the hotel), you discover that it’s a rather cosy establishment. Doubling as the hotel’s breakfast room, the Corner Room would comfortably seat around 40 people but would be in danger of feeling somewhat cramped after that. D and I were also just in the nick of time and managed to obtain the last remaining table (you can’t pre-book), and watched smugly as groups arriving after us were politely requested to return later on.
The Corner Room is like a mini Viajante. The menu is a mini version of the one in Viajante (also designed by Nuno Mendes the menu is limited to 4 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts). The room is a mini version of Viajante’s (stylish, comfortable and classy) and the prices are, thankfully, a mini version of Viajante’s (Corner Room – 3 courses + sparkling wine + wine by glass for each course + tip = c£35 pp)
The food is no less mini in its standards however. The Nuno Mendes influence is obvious as the perfectly executed dishes are presented by exceptionally charismatic and warm/friendly staff. I could have stayed there all night…and very nearly did.
My highlights of the evening had to be, firstly, the maître d’s description of my main course which was sirloin topped with a miso brioche crust, a selection of parsley salad, croutons, jus and caramelised leeks which had been “dragged through a butter emulsion”. I think those 5 words brought me more pleasure than I’ve ever experienced before. I now long for everything I eat, touch, drink, feel to have been “dragged through a butter emulsion”. Secondly, my dessert was unabashed indulgence. The menu described it as ‘Dark chocolate with peanut butter ice cream’. I would (in my unlearned fashion) describe it as a deconstructed Oreo cookie with a deconstructed Reese’s peanut cup on a plate. Of course, in reality, it was something worthy of a 100 million Oreos or Reeses, and the small square of peanut butter flavoured terrine almost sent me stratospheric with delight. It was delightful, it was unexpected, it was playful and it was damn delicious!
If I were forced to gripe about anything it would be that we were kept waiting for a tiny bit too long, for an opportunity to order drinks, after we were seated. However, we weren’t in any hurry at all and therefore my vital signs remained normal throughout service. They were incredibly busy and D and I were as happy as larry taking our time over each marvellous course and savouring the (seriously well recommended) wine choices.
After a full feeding and watering, we managed to finally drag ourselves away. The very pleasant and charming maître d asked if we’d be returning anytime soon (I had made no secret of my overwhelming appreciation of every tiny thing I ate) and when we exclaimed “YES!” he informed us that they change their menu every 10-14days to keep it fresh/appealing. Announcing that we would return in 10-14 days, we waved a fond farewell and made our way down the hotel’s grand staircase, through the polished reception area and back out onto the streets of Bethnal Green for a well-required walk home.
I would attempt to use an exhaustive list of adjectives to describe each course individually, but I may as well just use one to sum up the food, wine, service, price and atmosphere: Exceptional.
Once again, as with Viajante, I’ll let the photos do the talking.
But shhhhh….don’t tell anyone as if I go there and am unable to get a table in future you will all pay! You are all allowed to go as I trust you all, but keep it to yourselves. After you’ve eaten there you’ll understand why.