Following Nuno Mendes' departure from the Town Hall Hotel in February 2014, Corner Room appointed John Christie as head chef in September 2014. Christie has previously worked at restaurants such as Hibiscus and El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain.The Food and Drink Editors
In its role as the less formal of the two restaurants in the restrained, stylish Town Hall Hotel (the other is Viajante), the Corner Room strikes a happy medium between impressive and approachable. That’s the only way in which it’s medium, though. The food, overseen by the perfectionist, thoughtfully experimental Nuno Mendes, is consistently excellent, and the short, alluring wine list and young, engaged staff in their black uniforms are also some way above average. The short menu (about five dishes per course) is a terse list of ingredients that barely hints at the complexities on the plate, which invariably holds more flavours than billed and a primer’s worth of technique. It’s all in the service of flavour rather than cheffy showing-off, and presented attractively rather than as art. ‘Sprouting broccoli and garlic tea, stracciatella’, for example, was served with beer-pickled onions, the near-sour dressing a teasing foil for the stracciatella (creamy mozzarella). The bread pudding in ‘Ibérico pork, bread pudding, wild garlic’ was a rich, musky mush, the garlic leaves brittle and aged in flavour. Influences from Mendes’ native Portugal are evident, as is seasonality, though sometimes just in adaptations to Corner Room classics. The room is small yet not overcrowded and – being a former town hall – the ceilings are high. The original decor has largely gone, but the oak tables, panelling and wall units recall a certain office-like feel, though the forest of hanging lights and shades is more playful. Good food at any price, awesome at these.