With Lyle’s near neighbour The Clove Club breaking into the San Pellegrino Top 100 Restaurants in the world list at number 87 and with other recent hot openings such as Rotorino and Andina London’s eastern boroughs are becoming less the gastro equivalent of the Siberian steppes and more the latest hot destination.
Lyle’s is fronted by chef James Lowe who alongside The Clove Club’s chef Isaac McHale came to prominence as one of the trio of ‘Young Turks’ who first hit the culinary scene with their popup above The Ten Bells pub in neighbouring Spitalfields. The restaurant is situated in The Tea Building in Shoreditch High St, also home to Pizza East, in a refined post-industrial space. It is an assemblage of light wood, polished concrete, steel and white tile that feels cool and restrained. We are here for lunch a few days after the opening. It isn’t particularly busy and the rest of the clientele are either other early adopters or middle aged nuevo (like me) Eastenders (not like me…).
Proceedings opened with a fantastic eggy sourdough bread and Lyle’s own freshly churned butter. Since it was lunchtime we needed a drink and ordered two glasses of the Raventos i Blanc, l’Hereu, Conca del Riu Anola 2011 £6/£35.
This cava comes from the Raventós i Blanc estate which has been producing wines since 1497. It is a blend of 50% Macabeo. 35% Xarel·lo.15% Parellada grapes and has a rich honeyed and butterscotch flavour with a hint of bitterness on the end.
Nettle soup, pheasant egg and cured pork neck £7) came in a vivid British racing green. It packed an intense chlorophyll punch and the pheasant egg added a rich unctuousness to the dish, softening the impact of the green.
Hispi cabbage, mussels and seaweed (£7) was a modest revelation. The crisp roast cabbage was delicious and given a flavour of the sea by the tender mussels, powdered seaweed and cream sauce.
Dover Sole, Jersey royals and land cress (£14.90). The spuds were tiny and flavoured by the butter and cress. Dover Sole should be aged but this fish was a little rubbery and didn’t have the springy texture the fish should have. However the flavour was good. This was a perfect early summer’s dish
Cheeses are supplied by Neal’s Yard. Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire was creamy and crumbly and the St James was soft and yielding. (£8.50)
Yoghurt, loganberry and spelt cake (£6.30) was a conflation of frozen yoghurt, dehydrated loganberry powder and warm spelt cake. It was warm, crumbly, cool, smooth and fruity all at the same time which worked very well for me thank you.
Lyle’s is a cool urbane space producing a sophisticated take on gutsy ingredient-led British food. Dinner is a set menu offer which doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I will return for a more extended foray into the menu.