As the vanguard of coolness extends further and further away from the west into the depths of East London, it’s always a pleasure venturing out into this buzzing part of the city. The fantastic Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green has always been a secret haven for those in the know, perhaps owing to it’s quiet, under-the-radar location. Having dined here twice before at Nuno Mendes’s excellent Viajante, I was delighted to have a chance to try out Typing Room – the latest reincarnation of the Hotel’s fine dining restaurant, the evening after the grand opening.
Dinner options at Typing Room include a tasting menu or the standard a la carte option, which is the basis of this review. For those who like a tipple pre-dinner, the Town Hall Hotel has a lovely art deco bar for cocktails manned by a dynamic duo who know their stuff. Back in the main dining hall, the excellent sommelier is patient and knowledgeable to help you navigate some unique wines – predominantly from boutique suppliers, which always makes for discovering interesting vintages.
The dining area lacks a bit of atmosphere, primarily having to do with the pointless divider which separates the two seating areas. While the front of the room benefits from overlooking the open kitchen (I recommend asking for a table in this section), the back part feels somewhat left out and segregated. This was more of a personal preference, as some diners will prefer the intimacy. Our dishes included tasty langoustine with fried scampi and caramelized carrot, a main of seabream with broccoli, and brill with squid and tomatoe. After a refreshing palate cleanser, the gold star of the evening goes to dessert, and the glorious ‘chocolate, almond and amaretto’. I won’t spoil the surprise.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Jason Atherton run Typing Room is bold and contemporary. It’ll be interesting to dine here again in a few months to see how the team moves things forward, and you should get there before the masses descend.
Restaurant – 7/10
Experience – 8/10