Tuesday, 6 January 2015


Russian roulette

Lyle opened in mid-2014 and since then has become a very popular and fashionable restaurant in the East End of London . Cooking style is modern British in principle, focusing on seasonal produce without too much dressed up presentation. For dinner, there are no options, just a 5-course menu and unless you are vegetarian or have a special diet, you are stuck with what is offered on the day. Sounds like Russian roulette, but a risk I was willing to take, considering the decent number of comments from the press.


First course of pumpkin, hazelnuts with whey butter was more like a side dish of a main, everything tasted alright but clearly not strong enough to carry itself as a dish on its own. The pollock with seaweed was pure class however, the fish was cooked to perfection with good seasoning, it was really moist and fresh with that seaweed element adding a hint of saltiness and herbal notes. The pheasant dish was also cooked well, tender meat and settled flavours from the garnishes, it was a dish of what proper British cooking is all about.

Pumpkin, hazelnuts, whey butter
Pollock and seaweed
Pheasant, black cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke

Both desserts were a major disaster on the night, the texture of the quince and chestnuts tasted like porridge at a level that was close to unpleasant. The pear, soured cream and chocolate dessert tasted like three ingredients tossed together without any balance whatsoever. The three elements sounded interesting on paper but on the night Lyle's totally failed to execute it. The overall cooking style at Lyle's actually reminded me a lot of The Clove's Club, but the problem was everything seem to be... just not as good.

Quince and chesnuts
pear, chocolate and soured cream

There was no middle ground in Lyle's set menu on the night, the dishes were either top notch or mediocre, and at almost £40 without drinks and service, I expected so much better than what was served up. In the end the no choice menu was just too limited for my liking and some of the dishes for me, seemed like the chef had gone for a 'concept' but overlooked the fundamental foundation. At the end of the day, we've all got different tastes so god knows why Lyle's came up with an idea of a no choice menu in the evening at all. 

Food 2.5/5

Head chef: 
James Lowe

What I paid: 
£72 per head with 4 glasses of wine

Average cost without drinks and services:
Lunch menu: £25 - £30
Dinner menu: £39

Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ


Lyle's on Urbanspoon

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