Restaurant Review: Corner Room
Corner Room, under the esteemed leadership of head chef John Christie, delights and wows with rarely found combinations of flavours. Located on the first floor of the decadent Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, the restaurant serves only 30 covers, allowing for a very personal dining experience. The room, monopolised by wooden tables and chairs that provide a natural feel, would be a lamp enthusiast’s dream, with a beautiful marriage of two domineering – almost spotlight – lamps as the hub of the room alongside a wall of earth-coloured hanging lights. The white wall provides a canvas upon which natural light can display its brilliance, creating a homely feel and engendering a relaxed sense of casual dining.
Corner Room’s atmosphere, however, is the only relaxed aspect of the place. The food, wine and service were exceptional. The evening began with cocktails, which creatively made use of bitters to tantalise the palate. Wanting to explore Christie’s flavours, we chose the tasting menu with the European-based wine accompaniment. Ordering off the main menu offers excellent value for money, at an average of £14 for mains.
Our taste exploration began with the gorgeous raw beef, hazelnuts and turnip combined with an egg yolk, producing a fresh and flavoursome dish. The wines, arriving just before each course, were expertly described by the well-presented and attentive staff. The emphasis on wines from non-typical European countries adds to the individual and unconventional nature of the restaurant.
A lovely braised leek followed the starter, served on typically earthen plates with cabbage. The written menu misleads the unwitting as it provides a peek at only two or three of the dish’s main ingredients, but on arrival the food reveals its vivid complexity, with flavours working wonderfully together. The experience progressed with duck breast and beautifully fresh vegetables, and then mackerel with a delightful passion fruit jus. Pre-dessert was a refreshing and cleansing combination of iced bergamot, sheep’s milk and honey.
The meal concluded with a rich chocolate ensemble sitting on stone and a frozen apple filled with sea salt caramel, Bramley apple and anis (on wood, of course). Corner Room, filled with couples on the evening that we attended, is the perfect balance of a comfortable dining experience paired with high-quality food and wine.