Typing Room

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
22 Love It
Bethnal Green
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In a prime Bethnal Green location, chef Lee Westcott creates dishes so intricate and exquisite it almost seems a pity to eat them. Inventive modernist cooking.

Could Typing Room be the next big thing? It has all the right ingredients. The room – once using for mayoral correspondence, now part of Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel – seems to be a ‘lucky site’. The previous restaurant here, Viajante, was run by Nuno Mendes, who built his reputation in this same kitchen before leaving to head up Chiltern Firehouse in the West End, a place more chock-full of A-listers than a botox clinic’s address book.

The new star backer is chef-restaurateur Jason Atherton, current toast of the capital’s dining scene (his hits include Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House and Little Social). If you haven’t heard of the new head chef Lee Westcott, that’s because after earning his stripes at Tom Aikens in Chelsea, he went off to do stints at some of the world’s top restaurants, including Per Se in New York and Noma in Copenhagen before ending up in Hong Kong, where he ran a couple of Atherton’s joints. That’s before he got ‘the call’. So now he’s back, with a menu of his own creation. But this is no ‘Bethnal Green Social’: Atherton clearly has faith in him.

Fortunately, that trust has been rewarded. There are plenty of ‘modernist’ food trends on his plates, such as all-the-rage New Nordic: a bit of dehydration here, some smoking there, plus more sprigs, twigs and petals than you can, umm, shake a stick at. This approach is no longer radical, but it’s high fashion food.

Dishes are intricate and exquisite; it almost seems a pity to eat them. A silky ‘patty’ of shaved raw beef was beautifully offset by the crunch of panko breadcrumbs and morsels of sweet smoked beetroot. A pigeon arrived entombed in a wooden box, tendrils of smoke curling up from the edges. Thankfully, the contents hadn’t been cremated, just gently smoked on a fragrant ‘nest’ of pine needles. Crisp-skinned chunks with tender, ruby-red middles were then carved and teamed with an intense jus, chewy barley and chunks of mellow, salt-baked celeriac.

Service was warm and professional. When we queried the just-cookedness of a veal sweetbread in an otherwise unimpeachable dish, it was quickly struck from our bill. No drama.

The setting, too, is quietly stylish: teal walls, muted greys, touches of elegant white marble. This is the best restaurant in east London right now. Whether or not it can conquer the capital from this postcode remains to be seen.


Venue name: Typing Room
Address: Town Hall Hotel
Patriots Square
E2 9NF
Transport: Tube: Bethnal Green tube or Cambridge Heath rail
Price: Meal for two with wine and service: around £120.
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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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The Typing Room stubbornly topped my list of restaurants to visit since it opened in 2014. Highly esteemed by critics, it has been awarded three Rosettes and promises clean, modern and innovative dishes. In other words, this is a gastronomic experience worthy of a special occasion. I had unjustly high expectations when I walked through its doors on my 31st birthday.

The restaurant is a short jaunt from Bethnal Green station, situated in the East London Town Hall Hotel. Its façade reflects the original 1910 architecture of the building and is a surprising location for such a spacious and modern eatery. The restaurant seats 40 diners- and this contributes to the difficulty of securing a reservation- yet it was half full when we arrived for a 20:30 seating. A lively atmosphere wafted around the room, but we were still seated opposite the open kitchen and pass. 

The waiting staff were professional throughout the evening- they were kind, attentive and unobtrusive. The sommelier was happy to assist us in selecting a bottle of wine without any pretentiousness. 

We settled on the seven course tasting menu (£75 per person) and I was pleased to be offered a pescatarian variation as I did not want to forgo the three plates highlighting seafood; in fact, there was only a single divergence from the standard menu (a crispy pork skin in lieu of smoked eel). There is an option for wine pairing available for an additional £50 that includes six glasses, but we opted to settle on a bottle for the table. 

Our 'snacks' then flew out of the kitchen, which are morsels intended for sharing. They provide an excellent showcase of the talents of the kitchen. There was a modern adaptation of an onion bhaji, arriving in the form of a cigar with a flaky exterior and accompanied with mango chutney. There was also a crispy fish skin, a feather light smoked cod cracker deftly dolloped with dill and oyster pearls. The snacks bristled with vibrant colours, contrasting textures and bold flavours- the chutney was syrupy sweet and the fish skin had surprising depth of umami and burst of flavour.

We were presented with a loaf of robust soda bread made from IPA and paired with marmite-infused butter. It arrived steaming, the residual heat causing the cornet of butter to slide away from its teetered position on a polished stone. The waiter profusely apologised and promptly returned with the plate presented in the intended form. The loaf was perfectly round with a dense crust and pillowy interior- the marmite butter offered an interesting savoury counterpoint.

After this introduction, the plates that followed demonstrated further innovative ingredient combinations, harmonies of taste and stunning presentation. Every component had purpose, contributing to the balance of each dish both on the palate and visually. The vegetable dishes surprised; they were delicately presented, but packed with wallops of taste: celeriac was enhanced with pear, fermented mushrooms and hazelnut and cauliflower excelled with a yeasty crust, raisins, capers and mint. Crab was complimented by clean flavours of cucumber, kombu and lime. The first of my favourite plates highlighted meaty arctic char with courgette, razor clams and lemon verbena and the second elevated smoked eel in a radish and bread consommé.

Finally, the session was rounded off with a serving of clean sheep's yoghurt balanced with tastes of apple and dill. Despite our full satisfaction with our gastronomic journey at this stage, a selection of artisan truffles appeared and we struggled to gorge any further. Thankfully, a short respite and strong black coffee helped us along. The truffles were rich and melted on the tongue, providing the indulgent finish to the meal that I covertly craved- the sheep's yoghurt cleansed the palate, but lacked the heft and sweetness of a birthday meal terminus.

At the end of our meal, I was presented with an unexpected and thoughtful token: a copy of my tasting menu signed by the waiting staff with a personalised birthday message. 

Our experience of The Typing Room was a memorable one- the food offered a multisensory journey through honest, British flavours. Each ingredient worked in harmony and the dishes were innovative but unpretentious. The atmosphere was relaxed, the waiting staff were immaculate and diners were mesmerised by the precision and painstaking care evident in the kitchen as each dish was prepared.

If you're looking to impress and like to be excited by your food, make your reservation at The Typing Room now- in my opinion, this is one of the best culinary experiences available in London.

Eleanor F
Staff Writer

The tasting menu at the Typing Room was probably one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. Pricey yes, and not one for the everyday, but absolutely outstanding in terms of creativity, flavour and service. If you have a special occasion then this is the place to go.