Love love loved Corner Room. It's one of those places that doesn't seem to be on the radar anymore, due to more recent openings wielding so much clout in the ever changing landscape that is the London dining scene.
The Town Hall Hotel is on a pretty dingy street off Hackney Road, surrounded by no other appealing eateries, Soho this is not. But what it does have to offer is inventive and unique dishes that continue to interest the more adventurous (and the loyal) diners almost 3 years after opening.
It's the casual back end to the Viajante fronted Town Hall Hotel, but Nuno Mendes will be closing shop at Viajante at the end of this month and moving on to bigger and better things. Look out for the next offering from The Loft Project.
Anyway, back to Corner Room, we arrived late for lunch, bloody 55 bus can never be relied upon, but it was a wonderful meal. Starting with a sparkling red, I'd completely forgotten about how wonderfully drinkable these are, at £35 a bottle, we knew we were in for a good afternoon!
Crispy pork skin with winter tomato (£7) started things off. We did not expect a granita like consistency, I liked it, Art wasn't keen, but the mayo was the star, rich and eggy and perfect with the puffy pork skin.
I chose the ratte potato, chicken egg and ikura (£9) for starter. I googled ikura to discover that it's salmon roe. I loved the flavour and texture combinations of the dish but I was absolutely gutted that the centrepiece of the dish, the egg yolk was overcooked. Verging on hard. Upsetting, but still yum and very pretty. The roe was incredible, really salty.
Art's starter of artichoke, erbette and poyoyo cheese (£7.50) was probably the winning dish of the day. The cheese was so fragrant.
My main was recommended to me by the waiter, the halibut with charred leek broth and kale (£15). I was very happy with it, the broth in particular absolutely delivered the charred flavour it promised. Very smokey indeed. The fish was tender, served with mussels, kale and cabbage. Fresh and pure tasting, each ingredient tangible and holding its own.
The Iberico pork with pearl barley was every bit as good as we knew it would be. Desserts too held their own and we'd happily left room for pud. My apple and hazelnut with frozen pannacotta (£5) was quite brilliant, not looking like much in this wonky photo but really great. Art's dessert, the parsnip cake was pretty much Christmas in a bowl.
We lingered in the Viajante Bar for a couple of hours post meal. I wouldn't rave about the atmosphere in the place, there's an awful lot of wood paneling, and it was pretty quiet, save for a fellow diner who felt the need to sing her way through lunch, much to my annoyance. Really really enjoyed the food though and the service was good, they did tell us we ordered too much, having asked for a round of St Jude as a snack to come along with the pork skins. Good on them, I was just right by the end, though perhaps would have preferred the cheese and foregone dessert. All pretty reasonable too for £70 each with a bottle and a glass of fizz. Very good Nuno.
The Town Hall Hotel