Merchant’s Tavern is a modern British (with other cuisine influence) restaurant in Shoreditch, It is a collaboration between the very good chef Angela Hartnett (that owns the Michelin star restaurant Murano and other restaurants) and the main chef of Merchant’s Tavern Neil Borthwick (who is also Angela’s partner in real life and also owns restaurants in London).
I had tried to book this restaurant a few times in December, but every time I called it was fully booked, so it has become very popular since the day it opened. In April I finally managed to get a table and when I went there on a Wednesday lunch time it was half full on this occasion. The restaurant is located in Shoreditch and my lunch buddy Mark was saying how unusual it is to have such a “city looking place” located in Shoreditch, where the restaurants historically have been a bit more funky. Merchant’s Tavern does not have your average Shoreditch crowd as clientele and most of the people eating there are in suits who have wondered to Shoreditch to be a bit more “modern”.
When you walk into the restaurant at first there is a casual brasserie with a different menu, a bar and as you walk in further into the room there is a restaurant with a different menu. We sat in the restaurant. The restaurant does have a typical corporate feel and reminded me a bit of the décor in Hawksmoore and Goodmans, but it does have a nice ceiling window, shining light into the restaurant. When I was sitting down and waiting for my lunch buddies Mark and Gabriel to arrive a nice waitress came up to me and complemented me on my dress, which is always a nice start to the meal and in general service was good for me and also for some of my other friends that have been here.
The menu had 6 starters and 6 main courses and starters were £10 on average and main courses £20 on average. I ordered a “Spring Vegetable Salad, Toscano Ham & Lemon Thyme Emulsion” as my starter and it was perfect, very good salad. It was presented in a sort of messy but nice way with many different vegetables, all crunchy and nice and with a great sauce, I very much enjoyed it. Mark and Gabriel ordered “Scallop Ceviche, Sea Urchin Vinaigrette” and they commented that even though they liked the scallops, they were fresh, tasted nice, they did not like the Sea Urchin sauce and they said that this was more of a sashimi type of dish as opposed to a ceviche.
My main course was cauliflower and wild mushroom and parmesan risotto, which was heavy but one of the best risottos I have had in a while. You could still taste the mushrooms, they were crunchy and flavoursome and the risotto had a lot of flavor. Mark ordered “Roasted Gressingham Duck Breast, Crushed Turnip” and kale and thought it was good, and Gabriel went for “Roast Brill, Crushed Jersey Royals, Brown Shrimps, Monks Beard” and he said his fish was very good. As sides we had potatoes, “Winter Slaw” and “spring greens”. I was not very impressed with the sides, the spring greens tasted of nothing and the slaw would have benefitted from some sauce, it was overly healthy (not like your typical slaw) but because of that did not taste of much as well. You can also see pictures of two desserts we ordered which were pleasant.
I think Merchants Tavern does good typical European lunch food. It is a very good safe choice if you want to go to Shoreditch. Also my friend says it is great for cocktails in the evening as there is a fire place by the bar and it creates a cosy atmosphere. If you want this sort of food there are very few other places in Shoreditch that can offer you this.
Date: 23/ 04/ 14
Price for 3 people no alcohol and with service charge: £140.16