Mar 28 2015



The Harden’s guide rated Lyle’s one of the top 10 best new restaurants of 2014, so I was always very keen to go and try it out. The owners/ chefs are James Lowe (who used to be part of The Young Turks team) and John Ogier. I booked a table 2 months before our dinner for a Saturday night and could only then get a table for 6.30, showing how popular this restaurant is. It is located in Shoreditch in between the Shoreditch House and Pizza East, and just like a lot of the surrounding restaurants has that modern, minimalistic and a bit industrial décor. The restaurant is just one room, that is not too big and there is a bar on one side of the room. We had a table booked from 6.30 to 9pm and we were running very late and arrived at 7pm (and some of our friends arrived close to 8pm) and they dealt with this very well, bringing the food quickly and not giving us too much attitude, but they were very strict about us leaving at 9pm when the next seating arrived.

There is a set menu for dinner at Lyle’s which has 5 courses and costs £39, although if you come here for lunch you can also order individual dishes. Lyle's serves British food and the menu is quite meat focused and some of my dinner buddies were vegetarian, and the restaurant did accommodate them and brought them vegetarian dishes instead. Besides the set menu you could also have 2 extra dishes, sea urchin for  £7 and Neal’s yard cheese for  £9.50, and we ordered a few sea urchin dishes and shared them at the start of our meal. The sea urchin was quite plain, served in its shell and not changed much, just topped with some pepper and salt, and it was a fresh sea urchin, but eating it is an acquired taste and I can’t eat too much of it, as it is so particular. It was served at the same time as a plate of green leaves with some goat’s curd/ cheese where you could dip the leaves into, which I enjoyed more than the sea urchin. 

The first course from our set menu was “Calcots, Burford brown egg & buckwheat”. Calcot is a type of scallion or green onion from Catalonia, Spain, and tastewise it is milder than an onion. It was a pretty dish when it arrived, with the décor clearly thought out, but a lot of my dinner buddies did not appreciate this dish fully, and complained they had to eat “onions”. The egg was soft and very nice, and I liked the crispy buckwheat, a very Eastern European ingredient, and eating everything together there definitely was a certain appeal to the dish, but more from the look of the dish and the unusual ingredients, than taste wise. Calcot may be a superior onion, but it is not the most exciting thing to eat.

The second dish was “Lamb’s sweetbreads, ramson and yoghurt”. Sweetbreads is an acquired taste and it is quite brave to serve it on a set menu with people not having another option what to eat. I would not order sweetbreads in a restaurant. This is another dish that divided opinions with most people not liking it, due to the fact they had to eat sweetbreads. I actually thought it was quite a pleasant dish and the sweetbreads together with ramson and yoghurt went well, but I would not order it again. Once again though it was a very pretty dish. The last savory dish was “Cobb chicken, kale tops and anchovy”. I was very impressed with the chicken here, not sure if it was how they had cooked it or the quality of the produce, but it was very tender, moist and delicious, very nice to eat with kale, although there was not too much of the chicken. The vegetarian people were given a fish with kale, and they said they thought the fish was ok, but they did not think it was very fresh. 

The first dessert was “Apple, sorrel & goat’s curd”, a very refreshing palette cleanser sort of dessert. The last dish was called “rhubarb & custard” although it is very debatable why they called this “rhubarb & custard” and the cream was not custard-y at all. My fiancé loved it, as it was quite a sweet cream with soft, and very pretty pink, rhubarb hidden underneath the cream. At the end of the meal they also brought us some freshly baked madeleine type of cakes, which were one of the nicest part of the meal, they were truly very good.

I understand what sort of restaurant Lyle’s is trying to be – reasonably priced high end dining with creative and modern ingredients – and I do think it serves good value for money food, the meal was not too expensive for what they gave us, but I can’t say I completely enjoyed it from an “eating the food” point of view. I thought the dishes were more impressive on the plate and in theory and some of them were not that nice to eat, and I think there was too much, yoghurt/ soft sauce/ goats curd used, almost every single dish had it, and for me they could have used a bit less of it.

Date: 28/ 03/ 15
Price for 7 people: £430
Location: Shoreditch

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56 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JJ
United Kingdom
Lyle's Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5