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Great formula: sweet staff who know their food, relaxed setting, a leisurely pace at dinner, and brilliant food from one of the most talented cooks in town.

‘Wham-bam, thank you m’am’ – the new normal for London’s restaurants. Book ahead? You’re having a laugh. Queue? Of course. Meals come and go at breakneck speed, and before you can even settle into your faux-distressed school chair, the bill appears and you’re out on your ear, wondering if it was all just a dream. If that’s the kind of fast and furious that floats your boat, then you should probably give Lyle’s a swerve. Dinner here is a long, leisurely affair. You can book (they even have a telephone!) and stay as long as you like, as there’s no turning tables. The pricing is fair: the no-choice menu costs £39, which gets you seven small courses (plus bread, petits fours and filtered tap water), served in a drawn-out procession. The whole thing, from start to finish, takes a languorous two and a half hours or so.

The chef is James Lowe, formerly one of the much-fêted ‘Young Turks Collective’ and still one of the most talented cooks in town. We were impressed by a terrific cube of blood ‘cake’ (baked pig’s head, blood, and semolina); mellow braised baby onions; and a hunk of fatty-edged mutton with an intense anchovy cream. Baked washed-rind British sheep’s cheese was lick-the-plate-clean moreish; as was a poached, slightly-tart rhubarb with a rich crème anglaise custard).

In short, almost everything we ate was notably good. Only the bitter notes of charred dover sole in a somewhat over-seasoned broth disappointed. But the sweet staff knew their food; and the semi-industrial setting (polished concrete floors, exposed girders, whitewashed brick walls) made for a relaxed setting.

If you’re incurably impatient, then perhaps a lunchtime visit, where you can order à la carte and eat at your own pace, would be more your thing. Though to rush cooking like this would be to miss the point. Just make sure you don’t have a dull dinner companion, or this could feel like the longest meal ever.


Venue name: Lyle's
Address: The Tea Building
56 Shoreditch High Street
E1 6JJ
Transport: Shoreditch High Street Overground or Old Street tube.

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Sarah V

I love the relaxed atmosphere, the no-choice menu and the friendliness of the staff. The food is not only excellent, it is also actually interesting. In a city with so many options, it is hard to find a place that surprises you purely because of the quality of the food it serves (and where none of the other frills matter).  Lyle's really is a foodie's wet dream come true. 


I´ve been here 4 or 5 times since its opening and it is hands-down one of my favorite restaurants in London. I have taken my parents, grandmother, teenage sister and my boyfriend here and it has always been a winner. 

The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, yet, as previous reviewers have also put it, sophisticated. 

The fact that there is only the no-choice menu in the evenings, makes the whole experience exciting and easy. Pretty much every dish I have had has been great and there have been some pretty unusual ones - duck hearts for example! Staff is very knowledgable about the food and wine. 

I definitely want to try one of the guest series events soon.

London Foodie Mama

Lyles is bang on trend right now in terms of the direction of the London food scene. Fresh, clean flavours with just a few ingredients per dish with heavy influence from Nordic cuisine.

The bright airy room felts informal but sophisticated – you could proudly conduct a business meeting here or invite the in laws.  Staff are knowledgeable and courteous.

We tried the monkfish liver in intrepidation (a delicacy in Japan but often discarded in the UK). This was creamy and full of foie gras like richness, especially teamed up with blood oranges. The Dexter steak was perfectly cooked and the chocolate dessert was sublime. Only disappointment was the chargrilled calcot – a mystery exotic spring onion type vegetable from Spain which basically tasted like a giant onion.

In terms of baby friendliness, Lyles is spacious enough for buggies and highchairs are provided. However, our biggest bug bear are that the timings are limited for a family lunch – only open Mon-Fri, so papa (or mama) will have to take a day off work or nip out of the office on a lunch break since they are closed weekend lunchtimes.

Phillip L

Cannot believe I am the first to review...service the best for ages, time to communicate answered questions cannot fault, this is an experience don't look just at the menu this is love on a plate with passion and flare.....cost very good value as I went to Oblix on Friday and this was 10 times better in all areas especially service 

Excellent work will be back as soon as I can....loved it and the fish head was amazing