Laidback haute cuisine in Spitalfields
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : British
Address : 2 Ely's Yard, Old Truman Brewery. Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6QR, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.thefrogrestaurant.com
Opening Times : Tues-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm; 5.30pm-10pm
Closest Tube : Liverpool Street, Aldgate East
Mr Handling removes formality from fine dining, which comes through in the design spec of his dining room. Situated on Ely's Yard just a beard's breadth away from Brick Lane, the space is half-hothouse, half-spacecraft, split between a wood and glass semi-enclosed area festooned with ivy and other creeping greenery and an indoor section with a clapboard clad bar running half its length. No tablecloths are invited to the plain wooden tables, and the chairs are rather sleek and austere.
F&B is the main pull of this place, and where Mr Handling demonstrates that he is beyond his years. The meal commenced with a duo of amuses bouche that made a cogent thesis statement. Crispy beef, pickles and mustard packed a pungent punch - deep fried into a packet of bovine brilliance. Tarama-ish smoked cod was rolled into a filo cigar and introduced to the deep fryer, then garnished with crème fraiche, caviar and a single leaf of sorrel. And the bread… springy sourdough slathered with chicken butter: an ambrosia of fat, roasting juices and crispy chicken skin. We were told that this is available to takeaway and immediately placed an order
The tasting menu careens from hit to hit, paired with unorthodox, excellent wines. Salmon with burnt miso, apple and radish is almost Japanese in both preparation and presentation - and finds an apt playmate in a Navasoz Niepoort vino blanco from Galicia. Medallions of beef hanger steak bedded down beautifully with anchovy and roast Jerusalem artichoke, as well as a smouldering Vin de Pays from Languedoc named Le Font des Armes. Desserts followed suit. We were entranced by a mousse of dark chocolate tofu with milk and malt.
The Frog E1 offers denizens of The City and Shoreditch a symphony of flavours without the starchiness that often attends haute cuisine. For anyone looking for a fun night and fine dining, you've hit your mark.