Lyle’s is one of those restaurants that you would probably walk past and think “oh look, another New York inspired minimalist eatery in Shoreditch. Quelle surprise.” and you would be so wrong. Yes, the decor is reminiscent of a pared down, tiled industrial kitchen – which seems to be the rule for any interior space of the Tea Building; and yes, it is the kind of place you have to eat the set tasting menu, which is put together every day according to what’s fresh. But you can book ahead, the price is completely reasonable and the vegetarian menu is as good as the non-veggie option.
When we arrived, my date and I were welcomed like returning regulars, asked how we were and seated at our very simple wooden table. It feels like a supper club, not a run of the mill restaurant. The sommelier is this absolutely awesome woman who you’d want to be friends with, and who introduced my palate to wines I could have never imagined – she knew exactly what she was doing. The waiters all seem to love their job more than normal. They are knowledgeable, happy and colloquial but never too present. I bet their staff parties are awesome.
I could write a page about how surprisingly good the boring sounding brussels top, pickled radish & XO sauce was to eat, and how the hay seared red deer sashimi with wild onion & crab apple. when accompanied by its wine chosen by my girl-crush sommelier, made me immediately think of a beautiful autumn day spent in the woods with a bubbling brook. Every single small beautiful plate was like a story being told through food, served on unfussy white crockery by the very chef who prepared it. The passion that goes into this place and every single dish prepared is something to admire. Also to admire is the completely awesome taste of duck fat caramel which I basically licked off my plate. Thing is, the menu changes daily so there’s no point reviewing the dishes – just go and see what delicacies will be prepared for you on that day.
We ate and drank for hours, nobody was threatening to throw us out – they don’t try to turn tables around because they want everyone to enjoy their dinner, which I think is very cool. Our neighbouring tables were full of happy customers: young and older, families and lovers and also some bona fide food critics who were just loving the food. The atmosphere is lovely, casual and unassuming and to be honest, everyone is too busy delighting over the awesome food, wine and even bread to care too much about anything else.
More info here:
Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E16JJ
020 3011 5911