On a Saturday night at Merchants Tavern, Angela Hartnett stood by the open kitchen beaming from ear to ear. Understandably so – this new Shoreditch restaurant cuts a fine figure with its retro curved green leather booths, comfy chairs and exposed brickwork. And the team involved is star-studded.
Hartnett is joined by her partner Neil Borthwick, who previously worked at the acclaimed Restaurant Bras in France, and the founders of British restaurant mini-chain Canteen – Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone.
Head chef Borthwick’s menu marries elements of British, French and Italian cuisine with plenty of seasonal ingredients. Our venison loin was served pink-middled, draped with a savoury sliver of lardo and accompanied by sweet braised red cabbage, quince slices and sprouts. A main of roast cod with salsify was also cooked skilfully, though the accompanying chicken broth was a little too salty due to flecks of ham hock. A heather honey tart worked better. Resembling a poshed-up treacle tart, it was laced with citrus and served with malt whisky ice-cream.
Service started friendly and efficient, but as the night progressed became less attentive, though we were in no hurry to vacate our spot – for a cavernous space, it’s surprisingly cosy.
Teething problems aside, Merchants Tavern is a restaurant with a lot to offer – we’ll be back to try some cocktails at the bar.
|Venue name:||Merchants Tavern||Contact:|
36 Charlotte Road
|Opening hours:||Bar Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; 11am–10pm Sun. Meals served noon-3pm, 6-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-9pm Sun.|
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street tube/rail or Shoreditch High Street Overground|
|Price:||Main courses £15.50-£19.50. Set lunch £18 2 courses, £22 3 courses.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
I LOVE the food here however the service has always been a bit lame...I've been 3 times and each time I've been seated I've waited a while before being offered a menu or even a drink. I found myself forever trying to catch the attention of the staff who seem to look above your heads rather than at tables (maybe if I look busy, people won't notice kinda vibe). The bar is incredible but again, there's no consistancy in service. I got the most amazing dirty martini from one of the bartenders, the next one was half the size and tasted half as good...
However, the food won the show and meant I've gone back and will no doubt go again...so if your pretty relaxed and just looking for a nice location and great food, this is perfect.
Nice place, good design and finish. Food can be much better. Just 6 main dishes on the menu. Brill and Pollock too plain for such restaurant. Not sure why such fish was considered. Venison was very good. Pork belly was not bad, but we have had much better. it's just pork belly afer all. Nice staff. Definitely overpriced for those types of dishes.
Had a fantastic meal with friends, brilliant atmosphere, tastes and textures! Will go back and highly recommend!
Food is hearty, tasty and interesting. This isn’t a place where you’ll leave hungry and little touches/skill in the kitchen (crispy chicken was a surprise) pique your interest. Menu seems to change a lot and is fairly short and sophisticated rustic (you know what I mean?). When we went, stand out dishes were scotch broth, cheese on toast, pork neck w/ girolles, gorgeous roasted spiced carrots. Real nice venue, with spacious bar area (good bar snacks and great array of beers e.g. kernel brewery and wines) and then some comfortable lounge seating. Nice buzz/mood, comfortable and relaxed but with attentive service. Main’s are a little pricey but overall I’ll be back. Really enjoyable and tasty meal out.
Shoreditch has a new gourmet eatery, Merchants Tavern. This place is a collaboration between Michelin starred Angela Hartnett from Murano (posh Italian in Mayfair) and some local boys from Canteen (covert dining hall in a school). First impressions from outside and as you enter this polished converted warehouse and apothecary are impressive, but there is something amiss. This place is lacking that Shoreditch creative cool vibe that you escape central London for. We had just passed a heavily guarded private party in some graffitified marquis with pumping beats around the corner, which was more fitting to this area. My friends felt it was more New York East side, probably because of the cavernous space, brick walls and slick detailing. The service was also a little up and down, forgotten ingredients in specials, no bread before appetiser, although we did get a history lesson on 'Treviso' from a characterful waiter. The food was in a word good but not wondrous. There is a good mix of gourmet favourites, scallops, duck, venison etc all in slightly unusual combinations. My starter of quail with nutty hazelnuts and fois gras hit the mark. My main of mallard was a little on the bijou side but crisped to perfection. My friend who is connoisseur of all things carbohydrate was more than satisfied by the velvety creamy mash. Fish dishes were also a bit small but there was finely roasted piece of bright white sea brill. Desserts were slightly underwhelming. All in all, the food ticked all the boxes but did not make me whoop with delight which I would expect to do at £65/ head. Would I go back? Maybe after the initial teething problems settle and with a big group.
Just yes...! Amazing mushrooms on toast; scallops with pumpkin mash just perfect; venison the best I've ever eaten. Great view of the open kitchen from the green banquets.
Sensational cooking - fresh and innovative - served up in a convivial dining room. Try to get a table on the sumptuous green banquet. The hogget broth was clean and intense. The venison was the best I've ever eaten. Start with a cocktail in the bar beforehand. The French 75 is fantastic.
A very contemporary feel - slightly comfort warehouse pub chic. Food is imaginative and superbly executed. The salad with parma ham/artichokes/egg etc a highlight. Desserts very dangerous.