The Corner room serves Portuguese fusion, and has so far been described as less pretentious and innovative than its big brother, Viajante. And with mains costing £12 tops, that seems valid justification. So the burning question is, does Nuno Mendes cut corners?
What’s it like?
A good-looking dining room, red in the face with guilt on account of its over-cocky lighting, located in a quiet room at the top of The Bethnal Green Town Hall Hotel. The appearance would be quite plain were it not for the antique, Hollywood spotlights in place of a chandelier and the mood wall at the back lit by a wilderness of incredibly COOL… yup, lights. It’s trendy and expect nothing less from a joint with no telephone number and that increasingly popular ‘come find us’ attitude.
A basket of walnut bread and olive oil arrived within five minutes – always a good sign. Worth mentioning is the starter serving of spanish olives on cocktail sticks, sandwiching together a slither of pickled anchovy. I asked the waitress where the olives were from, but she only said ‘Spain’. I wanted to say ‘actual Spain, or Spain?’
What’s good to eat?
The menu changes regularly and we knew that, but having read other blog reviews, turned up with our hearts set on Asparagus, egg and tapioca followed by Salmon & Beetroot. But these weren’t on the menu so we got to try some new additions. To start, we had a ham selection plate and the squid, jersey royals and fennel. The ham plate was a bit stingy for my liking – but more a lack of iberico than anything else – so I tucked into more of the squid than I promised I would. I’ll never have squid without fennel again! For mains, there was no contest. We both ordered the veal pasta. It was incredibly rich, and the veal the most tender I’ve had. As meaty pasta dishes go, there was a delightful amount of veal – almost too much if you’re not ravenous – but writing about it now fills me with regret that I didn’t finish my portion that night.
You gotta try…
The dark chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. This came a close second to – would you believe – the fishy olives at the start!
In true Viajante style, dessert was a techy texture plate and seconds away from being too Art A-Level to eat. There were all sorts of mouth explosions and the best part is that we shared it with ease.
Will I go again?
Yes, definitely, because it’s brilliant and cheap! But beware: it is the most difficult place to get a table. So go early. Nope, no corners cut here.
Town Hall Hotel,Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green E2 9NF www.townhallhotel.com
Oooh, there’s lunchtime deal on at the moment – 2 courses for £15. Bonus!