Ah, Lyle’s. Best known for being founded by one of the so-called Young Turks, a trio of rising stars with day jobs in swish kitchens and a sideline in pop-ups and supper clubs. Having picked up a stack of awards, one YT left for Australia, the other opened the Clove Club and the third – James Lowe – set up this stylish Shoreditch spot. With its no-choice, modern Brit menu, stunning setting, affable service and affordable prices, it was an overnight hit.
Since its launch, back in 2014, little has changed, except for the prices, which are notably steeper (it picked up a Michelin star in 2015, let’s blame that). The service, happily, is at laidback as it ever was. And the room is still simple, handsome Shoreditch at its best. Inside the iconic Tea Building – first built as a factory for Lipton – it offsets the lofty ceilings and gorgeous warehouse windows with Nordic-vibe farmhouse furniture, concrete floors and a long open kitchen.
As for the food, it remains superb. Think slick modern British plates with flair, not frivolity. Highlights from a recent visit: a plate of soft, smoky mussels with a lick of cider butter; impossibly tender slices of pheasant thigh teamed with roast calcots (mild green onions) and a pile of chewy, nutty spelt; and a flawless treacle tart with a crumbly dark pastry case, syrupy (but mellow) middle and a scoop of raw-milk ice cream to the side. Save up and go hungry.