Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ctrl+Alt+Del Room

Over the last few years I've had some fantastic experiences eating in some of the best restaurants in London. However, those nights were things don't quite come together it can be quite deflating. I know my tastes and thankfully the majority of the time I am more than satisfied. Except for last night, at one of the most sought after, and universally revered new restaurants, Typing Room. From mainstream critics like Marina O'Loughlin, to the very critical Andy Hayler gave it a very good score and deemed in One Michelin Star standard.
I don't know if it is just not to my tastes or I caught them on a bad night, but after spending near to a hundred pounds on a 7 course tasting menu and a glass of wine, it's unlikely I'll return to test that theory.
Blogger in the mist







Turn the clock back just over 2 years...I went to the Cube on the top of Royal Festival Hall, to be treated to a great meal from Tom Aikens. I was sat opposite a young man at the pop-up cube with Tom Aikens in the kitchen. That so happened to be Lee Wescott, at the time he was Tom's head chef, and managed to pester chat with him about the thought process behind ingredients and putting dishes together, and was quite impressed. In due course I followed his progression, and was looking forward to trying out what he had brought to the Typing Room after giving it a few months to bed down since opening.

After a few drinks in the next door Peg & Patriot, we were taken through to the main dining room by the continually superb FOH. While, it is an open kitchen, this is only relevant to those sitting in the front of the restaurant near to the kitchen. The remaining half is split by a wall, with tables for larger groups. I presume this is to separate potentially more noisier groups from couples and small tables where the decibel levels of couples probably reach no higher than the chinking of glasses while they become chef voyeurs, more interested in what the kitchen is doing than each other. We've all done it, I've been guilty. Anyway, I digress, being a group of 6 we were sat in the back.

There were 2 choices of set menu, a 5 course and 7 course, both completely distinct from each other, intense work ethic from the kitchen. While the 5 course looked very tempting with raw scallops and roe deer, we settled for the 7 course, the Iberico presa being a deciding factor for me. With it we shared a nice bottle of Twelve Clones, pinot noir. It does help to have an oenophile in the group sometimes, thanks Prowler. I'm less cultured when it comes to vino.

Snacks set a good start to the meal. Full of fun, creativity, flavour and a mountain of technique. First up was profiteroles with courgette and basil mixture with black olive emulsion on top. These were trounced by pig trotter and bacon (I think) croquette-like balls, absolutely brilliant, very powerful. The bread was also magnificent, a sourdough with a malty marmite butter, and brioche with chicken skin butter. Other snacks included a pumpkin puree and an attractive piece of chicken skin with smoked cod, oyster and dill

To begin the start of the main courses was Celeriac, salted baked, with foie gras mustard, cobnut and nasturtium leaves. It was an enjoyable dish but nothing very memorable. I can't remember any mustard flavours coming through and was surprised when re-reading the menu.

I would travel far for good quality beef, and this really shines through when having it raw. Unlike a usual tartare the beef was shredded, almost to a paste consistency and covered in panko like breadcrumbs. I didn't really get the point in the breadcrumbs, the texture from the beetroot and the turnip would have been just fine, the crumbs just overwhelmed and just had a grainy mouthfeel. I tried the beef just on it's own and it was quite bland. Disappointing.

The yeasted cauliflower dish was probably my favourite of the night. A clever dish, with the flavours and textures working well together. Very unexpected and yet balanced.

By this time another large group was sat near us, including chap with a voice as big as his apparent insecurities, as he projected his dull stories across the room, leaving us to need to shout to other as the decibel levels climaxed. I'm afraid I just don't know in polite etiquette to tell someone to 'shut the f*** up, I'm trying to enjoy my meal'.
The sea bass and octopus dish was another that was a little underwhelming for me. With a tiny octopus leg that was slightly chewy, the best bit was actually the carpaccio hidden underneath the seabass. The seabass itself, was beautifully cooked, with a perfect crispy skin.



It must be said that despite feeling a bit underwhelmed by this point I do appreciate the attention to detail and finesse involved in consistently producing such stunning dishes. Each one is a work of art representing a ream of technique and skill. 
Maybe I just have simpler tastes, and so I should know the places I'd rather empty my wallet. As a scientist, it's not often I can have have the luxury of actually splashing out! 

The last of the savoury dishes was iberico presa with chervil root. It pains me that the slightly sweet chervil root was the most interesting part of the plate. While most of the table seemed to enjoy I found the presa to be a bit lacking in flavour that I've really enjoyed from the same cut at Ember Yard. 




With the amount of positive reviews, it's likely this may have been an off night. That said a restaurant is only as good as it's last night. 'Style over substance' does come to mind, the flavours just didn't spark and leave a lasting impression. We all have our own individual tastes, but I felt pained to have to hand over the amount that I did

Typing Room
Bethnal Green Town Hall

-  Owen

Typing Room on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

  1. My boyfriend and I knew very little about fancy food, but our waitress at San Francisco restaurants was very knowledgeable and helpful with helping we choose! Highly recommended that everyone to check out this place!

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Well, what you think?.......