I think this is one of the best if not the best value for money meals you can have in London. The Corner Room is a sister restaurant of Viajante, which has just been named the 59th best restaurant in the world, and both are run by the very cool Portuguese born chef Nuno Mendes. Both restaurants are located in Bethanal Green in Town Hall boutique hotel, and the Corner Room is a more affordable restaurant, a sort of neighborhood restaurant where you can have Nuno Mendes unique, magical cuisine for an affordable price, and in line with this “easy accessible” principle no reservations are taken for dinner, so anyone can walk in at any time and try to have a taste of Nuno’s food (you can book a table for lunch, and 2 courses at lunch cost £19, 3 courses for £23).
I went to the Corner Room on a Thursday evening to have dinner with my 4 friends and as I was so scared I was going to have to wait a long time for a table as you could not book, I arrived at 18.20, but I should not have rushed like this as we were the only guests there, and the restaurant really started filling up at 7.30. I have been to Viajante and remember the Town Hall hotel having a grandeur type of feel, but I had never walked through the hotel, as Viajante is located by the main door of the hotel, but to get to the Corner Room you have to walk through the whole hotel, past hotel rooms and go up the stairs on the first floor, which is an experience. The hotel has 20th-century classic furniture and distressed shop cabinets, and just a general old school Edwardian feel, but once you reach the Corner Room, the vibe is very different and the room seats 30 people and is very modern, contrary to the hotel, and it has wooden tables, and a really cool wall installation of hanging industrial lamps (which you can see in a picture) and a wrought-iron staircase winding its way to the ceiling, ie nowhere.
The menu is not big and featured 2 sharing plates, 5 starters and 5 main courses, and the menu apparently changes frequently to reflect seasonal ingredients. 3 of us arrived a bit early and were feeling hungry, so we ordered both of the sharing plates, “Jamon Iberico” and “Amarelo da Beira Baxa DOP”, and as I said Nuno Mendes is Portugese, hence in jamon and Iberico pork and other dishes you can see his Iberian background. The Jamon was nice, served with toasted dark bread, and just a pleasant way to start the meal. Amarelo da Beira Baxa is Portuguese cheese if you (like me) did not know, and they brought you a huge chunk of round slightly baked cheese which was in the middle of soft and hard cheese and was nice, but was quite heavy so we could not finish it. The waitress also brought us 2 types of bread with butter and also another type of spread topped with pomegranates.
My boyfriend chose the starter of “purple sprouting broccoli, stracciatella & garlic tea” and this dish just like the others was presented in a very cool round plate with raised sides. Stracciatella is a soft Italian cheese, used for the stuffing of burrata, and the purple sprouting broccoli was on top of this cheese and all of this was sprinkled with garlic tea drops, and it was a simple but extremely delicious dish with the garlic tea adding a very wonderful spice to the cheese and broccoli, thoroughly enjoyed all the bits of this dish I could steal from my boyfriend. I chose the “cuttlefish with salt baked potatoes & paprika”, and the cuttlefish was grilled together with its ink which you could see on the sides of the cut up pieces and was just delicious and I loved the potatoes and the paprika, another absolutely stunning dish. My friend Carl had the “sea bass ceviche, tangerine & carrot” and my friend Nick ate the “wood roasted salsify, scallop & wild herbs” and everybody loved their food. The food was just incredibly well presented, the colours on the plate were wonderful and all the things looked so appetizing, you just wanted to dive straight in. This is some of the best, most creative and delicious food I had had in a long time.
The main courses were equally impressive. I (and Carl) chose the “Iberico pork, clams and yeast”, as the waitress explained that it was super high quality pork which meant you could actually cook it medium/ rare and as I love meat cooked in this way, I went for it. The pork was just stunning, extremely tasty, and the softest and nicest pork I have had in a very very very long time. I usually am not a huge fan of clams, but here I loved them and I loved the green yeast bits that were decorating the plate. My boyfriend (and Nick and Aine) chose the “aged beef, ash, egg and radishes” as the waitress explained the beef came from a man that grows cows but is not really a beef supplier, and he only kills 2 cows per week and lets them have a great life, so the quality of the meet is excellent, and they spent a lot of time trying to find a great supplier of beef, which they now have. The beef was incredible, all the vegetables went so well with it, and once again the plate was just beautiful and colourful.
After our main course we moved on to deserts, and when we at first read the desert menu all of us were a bit confused, as they were not your typical deserts and all of them contained quite strange and unusual ingredients. In the end Carl, Aine and Nick went for “apple & hazelnut with frozen pannacotta” which they enjoyed and I had a bit of a cookie crumble mix that you could find on the plate that Aine had not finished, and it was super delicious. My boyfriend chose “butternut squash, smoked coconut” and you could tell there was butternut squash in the dish, but it was super pleasant and a nice balance to the sweet coconut. Once again brilliantly presented with the bright butternut squash and just surprisingly tasty, I would never expect this from a butternut squash. But the best desert in my mind, which you would never guess from just reading the menu, was the desert I chose “rhubarb, radish parfait & pickles”, I know it sounds weird and disgusting, but how Nuno Mendes made it taste so incredible just shows his skill and is worth 5 Ms. The plate once again was beautiful, in warm pink, orange and yellow colours, and the pickles and the radishes provided such a wonderful balance to the ice cream and rhubarb. It is really hard to explain as I know the name of the desert and ingredients will make many people puzzled, but you just have to trust me it was sensational.
Another thing I loved about the Corner room is the fact they give you unlimited still & sparkling water for £1 per person, which is a brilliant idea as I drink so much water. The only slight thing that was wrong with the Corner Room that the waitress was new and so did not know many things about the dishes and had to call another waitress and at times it felt like there was not enough focus on us, but that is a minor detail and can’t take away from the fact I loved the Corner Room. Initially I thought of giving the Corner Room 4.5Ms, but when I was looking back at the pictures I changed my mind and have given it 5Ms. We paid £55 per person and had an incredible 3 course meal and drank 2 cocktails and 2 bottles of wine (which the waitresses chose for us and which were great, especially the Portuguese white wine), and we had the most incredible meal, absolutely beautiful, full of expensive and mind blowing ingredients in other restaurants you would pay so much more for, and just brilliant culinary skill. At the moment I do think this is one of the best, if not the best value for money restaurants I have been to.
Location: Bethanal Green
Price for 5 people with alcohol and service charge: £272.25