When I met Lee Westcott at Wilderness Festival this year, he was so casual and unbelievably modest about his ‘little restaurant’ in the heart of Bethnal Green, that I thought I might have misunderstood. Or maybe I’d just had too many rums. (There had been much rum that night.) (Is the plural of rum, rums? Much rum.)
I’d heard of Typing Room, LM and I had been dying to go there since it opened, so when Lee was surprised that I’d heard of it, I had to wallop him with a breadstick (we were in the dining hall. I don’t carry breadsticks around with me) and tell him that he was a silly sausage. Of course I’d heard of it. And of course I’d heard of him – he’s the chap from Typing Room.
That, and I’d also seen him on the Saturday Kitchen Omelette Challenge.
He said “COME”. I said “OK”. So one evening after I’d had my hair chopped at Drama Parlour, it was a hop skip and a scuffle across the road to Typing Room, where I met LM for dinner.
Lee Westcott is head chef at this Jason Atherton restaurant, situated in the Town Hall Hotel, which was built in 1910. The restaurant takes its name from the building’s original typing room in which all communications from the mayoral, council and judicial system were put to ink.
The space itself is so easy going and relaxed, with a scandi-English feel… Scandlish. (No, it’s not a thing.) The open kitchen gives you the feeling that you’ve been invited to dinner round at Lee’s and the laid back environment, charming waiting staff and candlelit cosiness instantly put you at ease. I was very happy indeed, and once I’d had half of the loaf of glorious warm sourdough, smeared with lashings of marmite butter, I was near on delirious.
You can choose a five or seven course menu… and we went for the seven. Because once you’re there, you realise that it won’t be long before EVERYONE knows how amazing the place is… and the chances of being able to get a table again any time soon are fast diminishing…
The first course were ‘snacks’, consisting of an onion bhaji with yoghurt & mango chutney, crispy fish skin with drops of smoked cod, oyster and dill and pig’s head & smoked apple.
It became immediately apparent that we were in the hands of someone brilliant. Everything we saw that popped out of that kitchen looked absolutely exquisite, and undeniably pretty. The menu at Typing room is creative, exciting and forever evolving… and we were in for a total treat.
Scattered fresh flowers, scorched elements, burnt edges, piped purees… gorgeous little details were everywhere… I am not a food critic, and by that I mean my palette is not highly advanced and I couldn’t possibly say whether a dish was right or wrong or how to improve anything… but I DO know when something is delicious, when something is beautiful and when something is exceptional.
And every single course at Typing Room was all these things….
And for dessert, we had sheep’s yoghurt, apple & dill… which I absolutely loved. So light and refreshing… and blimmin clever too. Look how thin the meringue is!
And, even though we had no morsel of space left in our tummies, we couldn’t help ourselves when faced with these after dinner treats…
This is such a special place to go for dinner – the 7 course tasting menu is £75 per person, for 5 courses it’s £60, or if you fancy popping in for a 3 course lunch it will set you back just £29, which I think is excellent value.
Lee, you knocked our socks off.
(And I have got some VERY jazzy socks.)
Town Hall Hotel
Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
This post was shot on my LEICA D-LUX – dinky but dynamic ;)