It had been far too long since Mr Smith had been to The Typing Room in Bethnal Green, so that needed to change. Was Mr Smith’s return visit as good or better than previously?…
Although Mr Smith stays at the Town Hall Hotel on a fairly regular basis, he had not been to The Typing Room for a long time, pretty much a year. Considering they are in the same building, there are no real excuses, expect for wanting to always try new places. However, a return visit was definitely needed.
As normal Mr Smith nipped in to the Peg & Patriot for a pre dinner cocktail. The Knightsbridge was a perfect start as it included some sparkling Riesling and it is always good to start a meal with some fizz.
After a nice relaxing half an hour, reading the paper and sipping the cocktail it was time for dinner. Mr Smith was given the prime table to be able to see the kitchen in action. Definitely a favourite place to be, watching the chefs at work and the ultimate precision and timing they all have is amazing.
The same decision was required as the previous night at The Merchants Tavern, 5 or 7 course tasting menu. There will be no surprise in that Mr Smith went for the 7 with the matched wine.
After that obvious decision it was time to settle back and watch the kitchen in action and just wait for the first course.
The menu starts with a selection of snacks, which were delivered by Lee the head chef. There are advantages to being a single dinner and having been before, you get chance to chat to the people that create the food.
The snack selection was amazing. The Onion Bhaji to start with was incredible. Sadly, that has probably ruined other onion Bhaji’s now as I know how good that was. Next up was the crispy cod skin, which has been on the menu since the beginning. The reason it has been on is that it is delicious. This was accompanied by Turbot Roe and Oyster Leaf, a mouthful of lovely flavours, and finally came the pigs head with apple puree, the sort of thing that Mr Smith loves. A great way to kick off.
Part of the whole experience was that Lee explained a bit about those dishes and also brought out the bread with the marmite butter. Again something that Mr Smith has always had and it is even better than it was. The bread is warm, rips apart, crusty and soft. As for the marmite, love it or hate you have to try. Mr Smith would love this on that bread every morning! Love it!
So on with the main dishes. This was started off with the Celeriac, Pear, Fermented Mushrooms and Hazelnut, totally undersold when Lee said it was pears with mushrooms. Now, Mr Smith is not normally a fan of pears, but these were delicious and the tiny little mushrooms underneath were a real wow. This was served with a Manzanilla Sherry, which was a great pairing and an interesting way to kick of the wines. Apologies for the picture on this one, Mr Smith was so keen he dived in to start before taking a picture!
Following that was the Scallop, Clementine, Chestnut & Trompette Mushrooms. This was something that Mr Smith was intrigued by as it was a combination that he was not sure would work together. He should have had more faith as it was delicious. The Clementine really worked with the raw scallop. The Sauvignon Blanc to go with it was another perfect match, French but with hints of a new world style.
Now on to a dish that has been on the menu, in some shape or form, most of the time that Mr Smith has been to The Typing Room. The Yeasted Cauliflower, Raisins, Capers & Mint. This has always been a good and interesting dish, but this has now been elevated in terms of flavours and textures. For Mr Smith this is an incredible dish to have with such simple sounding ingredients. The flavours and textures just work so well and it goes to show how good a vegetarian dish can be. A definite evolution of an already good dish.
While Mr Smith was enjoying the cauliflower and the Greek wine that was with it, he mentioned to the Sommelier that one of the challenges with the marmite flavour butter is that it does not go with any of the matched wines. However, we was good enough to let Mr Smith try a couple of options to see if they worked and one of them was a 43 year old Sake. Unbelievably it worked really well, but equally good on it’s own. It was incredible!
The fish course was next with the Sea Trout, Kohlrabi, Pear & Cucumber. The trout was lovely and a perfect texture, with the kohlrabi ‘Spaghetti’, pear juice and cucumber providing balance and great fresh flavours. For Mr Smith this was accompanied with the best pairing of the night, the Yozu Sake with Champagne. It was a perfect drink on it’s own, but the combination with the trout dish lifted the flavours of both.
And now for the meat course. You will have noticed so far that the menu is really nicely balanced, with a good proportion of fish and vegetables, which definitely helps you work your way through a tasting menu. The Roe Deer, Beetroot, Cabbage & Blackberries worked perfectly together and produced great flavours throughout the mouth, with the deer being cooked to perfection and added to by the Italian red wine.
At this point Mr Smith was asked if he would like the addition of a cheese course, which for once he declined. He is trying to be sensible, to a degree, due to the training programme and the amount of eating that is to be done over the next couple of months!
So on to the pre dessert, a delicious Lemon Sorbet with Almonds. It really cleansed the pallet and the almonds gave a good textural element.
Finally came the Sheep’s Yoghurt, Apple & Dill. This is a perfect way to end the menu. Fresh and full of flavour with out being over powering and too filling! The Coteaux Dulayou that came with it was equally as good and provided Mr Smith with a great finish to the meal.
But wait, it was not quite the end. 3 little delicious petit fours also arrived, which capped things brilliantly.
So all in all 14 individual dishes (excluding the bread which Mr Smith could easily have has a dish on it’s own) from the 7 course menu.
To answer the question posed at the beginning, would it be better? The answer is Yes. Now that is saying something as the standards were high before. Obviously this is only the opinion of Mr Smith, but he thinks it was the best cooking he has had in London, certainly for restaurants that are currently open. Now there are thousands that have not been tried, but it will definitely be up there with the best.
During the meal there was a little bit of twitter activity going on with Mr Smith letting Hayley and Sian (from the previous nights encounter, see the Merchants Tavern post) know how good things were and making arrangements to take them there in February, the first available opportunity. Mr Smith is already looking forward to that and will look forward to seeing Lee and the team again then.
The perfect view in to the kitchen