Mar 1 2013

Upstairs at the Ten Bells


I had read a lot of reviews of this restaurant in Shoreditch so I booked a table there for dinner for me and my boyfriend on a Friday evening. Ten Bells is a pub in Shoreditch where Jack the Ripper killed one of his victims, Mary Kelly, so it is famous. It is a very small pub and upstairs on the first floor there is a restaurant with the obvious name “Upstairs at the ten bells”. Giorgio Ravelli is the Head Chef and the restaurant serves modern British, seasonal food and initially it was a pop up but it got so many good reviews it is now permanent.

We had another engagement at 7.30 so I booked a table at 6 and hoped to arrive a bit early and start our dinner earlier to manage it on time but when I arrived I was told “upstairs” only opens at 6 and so I had a glass of wine in the Ten Bells pub. When it turned 6 we went upstairs and were positively surprised how nice and romantic the room was (the room also has some interesting artwork, see a picture below). The restaurant only has one room, which is small and has around 10 tables and the whole place is lit in candles and is dark and has a lovely romantic feeling and atmosphere. The menu features snacks, starters, mains and deserts and also 1 cocktail and we ordered this cocktail “Hendricks, pomegranate and lemon” (but as the menu changes quite frequently you may have a different cocktail when you go there on the menu).

As for the food I had read their “Buttermilk Chicken & Pine Salt” was their signature dish (under snacks) and I had seen a lot of pictures of this dish in other food blogs and it looked great, and also the waitress recommended we have it, so we ordered this. We did not want to have too much food so we ordered 2 snacks a starter and a main course. The other snack which the waitress also recommended and we ordered was  “pig tail cromesquis, pickled walnut & tarragon” and cromesquis means deep frying to make a croquette. The starter we ordered was the “Fried Squid, Roveja Peas Polenta & Winter Tomatoes” and the main course was “Lamb Saddle, Spelt, Artichokes and Wild Nettle” which my boyfriend chose. The buttermilk chicken was divine, one of the best things I have had in a while and if I had to rank it would get more than 5Ms. It tasted slightly salty (not overpowering at all, very pleasant) and the chicken was extremely tender and delicious. It was like KFC but around million times better.  I’m absolutely over the moon about this dish and the way it tasted and also I loved the presentation of this as it was presented in some branches of a pine tree. The pig tails were also amazing and also get top marks. The meat inside the crunchy crust was so tender and delicious and it went so well with the very tasty pickled walnut, really superb. Next the waitress brought us the squid and the lamb saddle. The squid was also very delicious and I did like the roveja peas polenta that went with it, and my boyfriend loved the saddle and he ate almost all of it and left very little for me as he liked it so much. He was very determined in how he tried to get all the remaining meat of the bone. The meat of the lamb was tender and I also really liked the artichokes in the lamb dish as they were extremely soft despite also being fried and I loved how they served the lamb saddle with spelt which is delicious and not widely used and which I think goes very well with meat.

I still think of the buttermilk chicken and I will definitely be coming back to this pub to have that and other superb dishes they make. You can’t really call this pub food despite the restaurant being located in a pub, it is just excellent, very high quality and interesting food that is very memorable. I also think this is one of the best places where to take a date as it is so romantic with the candles and the dim lighting, not too expensive and just great food.

Date: 1/03/13
Price for 2 with cocktails and service charge: £65
Location: Shoreditch

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Upstairs at the Ten Bells
84 Commercial Street E1 6LY
United Kingdom
Upstairs at the Ten Bells Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5