FOOD REVIEW: A syrupy homage to Lyle’s of Shoreditch

My dinner find of the moment in London is Lyle’s in the Tea Building, Shoreditch.

It’s good for the right reason – the food.


lyles menu


I quite like the idea of a no-choice daily menu, and reasonable-enough sounding at £44 per head, although factor in great wine and you are looking at double that. The bill was a little north of £500 for five. Maybe it was just us, a fun group,  gossiping and having a jolly good time. There’s no price on that, right?

It could be a ‘date place’ but it would have to be with a foodie, because there’s not really that much to look at if you get a bit bored with the person sitting opposite you. The room is pared down,  industrial but not cold, with high windows, honey-yellow wooden tables and straight back chairs. Arriving is rather like being led into a school’s hushed examination hall with a bearded invigilator guiding you through the paper.

Lyle's  (c) Candids by Jo

Lyle’s (c) Candids by Jo

It’s taken me years to get my mouth around amuse bouches, so it’s a bit disappointing to find they are called ‘snacks’ at Lyle’s. They were stand out good, though. Ducks hearts’ ignominiously (I can say that, too) pierced on a cocktail stick. A cocktail stick! How achingly hip. With a tiny slice of red radish crafted into a heart shape. No, I made that last bit up. Juicy, tasty and hearty in one mouth-sized bite. Then onto bright green peas, clear tasty beef broth, with a poached egg that simply melted on contact. The crisped pollack, coloured tango-orange but white and tender inside was moistened with a large dab smoked roe and whey butter. A marvel of cooking being both dry and wet at the same time. Another star was a plate of charred asparagus spears and fennel with a nutty mayonnaise. Absolutely divine. The quail is hard bird to sell to a dinner table, undercooked and it gets sent back, too fiddly with all those odd-angled bones and it remains untouched. I loved it, golden and glossy.  I like to eat with my eyes and tried my best dissection to get decent mouthfuls. More sublime tastes came with a finale of English classic strawberry ‘Florence’ and elderflower mess. Florence being a local fruit variety, showing the Chef’s support for local producers.

Lyle’s is nothing to do with syrup; co-owner and head chef James Lowe has joined forces with John Ogier and the family behind London’s contemporary Indian restaurants, Trishna and Gymkhana. And they’ve come up with something special.


56 Shoreditch High Street
E1 6JJ

Described by  “it’s like the city’s hottest-ticket supperclub”

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