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The Frog E1

Restaurants, Contemporary European Spitalfields
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
1/6
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3/6
4/6
5/6
 (© Tim Green)
6/6
© Tim Green

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

An avant-garde, fine dining restaurant from chef Adam Handling.

This east London restaurant aims to serve ultra-creative cooking in a playful setting. And in some ways, it succeeds. Inside, the dining room is buzzy, all concrete floors and big open kitchen. Outdoors, a huge semi-permanent ‘annexe’ comes complete with a slew of foliage (live bamboo by the tables, dried hops hanging from the ceiling), heaters casting a red glow across the room and a DJ on the decks. Choose a table by the edge and you’ll dine on a swing seat too. It’s certainly memorable. But the food on my visit was awful. Dismal. Full of powders, swirls and flourishes, it was mostly interesting (though occasionally overwrought) to look at. But a pleasure to eat? No. The Frog is owned by celebrity chef Adam Handling (‘Masterchef: The Professionals’, ‘Great British Menu’); perhaps, on my Saturday night visit, he was off at a book signing and had decided the potwasher deserved a turn at the stoves (no disrespect to potwashers – I’m trying to make a point).

Dish after dish showed a complete lack of restraint with seasoning. Several (anything with ‘barbecue’ in its name, from octopus to veal tartare) were disturbingly oversalted, a few (the three-ways beetroot, a dessert of burnt honey with malted ice cream and lemon) were unpleasantly sweet. Only one – a simple yet stunning dish of burnt tenderstem broccoli, its ashen tips offset by a chestnut-toned puree of roasted garlic and the runny yolk of a fried, salted egg – lived up to the hype.

It’s a pity, because the notion of giving ‘fine dining’ a funky, avant-garde edge is the right one, especially in this postcode. But at these prices, substance still has to count, not just style.

Details

Address: Old Truman Brewery
Hanbury Street
London
E1 6QR
Transport: Tube: Aldgate East
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £150.
Contact:
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Users say (14)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening

I'm not sure why this hasn't got a much higher review from Time Out. This restaurant is AMAZING!! The dishes are utterly stunning and delicious. 


Adam Handling is a genius and has created a really special place. I have been to both this one and the new one on Hoxton Square and neither disappoint. 


One thing The Frog nails is taking their customers on a taste journey! 


Give it a go, you'll love it and make sure you try the Mackeral


:-) 


tastemaker

An unexpected gem of a restaurant behind Old Truman Brewery, Frog blends modern cuisine with Mediterranean flavours into a delicious culinary experience. Probably the best option to go for is the set menu. For 35 pounds, expect a starter, main, dessert and glass of bubbles, complimentary with an explanation of each dish by the chef. To start with you can choose between the burrata with romesco and wild garlic; salmon with fennel, apple and oyster or the chicken terrine with liver parfait. Ready for the main? This time you need to choose between mac and cheese, purple broccoli with harrisa and peanuts or lamb rump. Make sure to leave a little room for dessert! The dark chocolate, blood orange with smoked almonds is delicious, but if you’re not a chocolate fan, you can also go for the pistachio with rhubarb and yoghurt. To top it all of the atmosphere is cozy and the drinks tasty, definitely worth a visit. 

tastemaker

Adam Handling has put his MasterChef fame to good use. Tucked behind Brick Lane you walk into a festival style outdoor area, almost expecting to see a menu full of patty burgers and wings. I was pleasantly surprised to see a trendy and sophisticated dining area. The set lunch menu offered surprises left right and centre.


For the first course, I was greeted with a beautiful and lightly cooked piece of fresh salmon, almost sashimi like with delicately pickled vegetables. Almost too stunning to eat, this first dish showed the complexity in Adam’s dishes with mouth-watering flavours, cooked in various cutting edge ways to enhance creativity and overall depth of flavour. The restaurant obviously prides itself on using the most carefully sourced ingredients with Asian flavours and techniques evident throughout.The standout and most obscure dish had to be the celeriac with thin sliced apple, truffle, date, egg yolk and cream. A definite marmite option for the crowd.


Desserts were as expected – creative and intriguing. Smoking popcorn, boozy flavoured ice creams and the most luxurious forest gateaux. No dish disappointed, each provided its own quirks and experiences. Whilst there is a conflict in the restaurant trying to be part hipster part fine dining, the overall experience is stand-out. A relaxed vibe with service to match. If you are looking for excitement, flavour and colour in your food then The Frog is your destination.

Tastemaker

I had the 11-course tasting menu and most was delicious, but nothing beats the chicken butter that comes at the top of the meal... Oh, sweet lord, did my heart love until now? This quenelle of smooth, salty butter slathered thickly and inelegantly on the bread (which could have been a slice of Hovis for all it mattered) is the definition of luxury! With brittle chunks of skin flaked across the top, and all the rich, fatty and salty flavours of a chicken recently roasted – it is something I have never experienced before in this form, but is all the comforting flavours of a chicken resting in the pan, gently oozing out its delicious fatty juices which congeal thickly against the pan with the bits of skin that have been left behind. It sounds disgusting, but we all know it’s one of the best bits of a roast dinner. I'd like a vat of this in my fridge for daily consumption and i'll return to The Frog just for this if I could... I can't wait for the new restaurant to open in Covent Garden over the summer.

tastemaker

When it comes to fine dining, what really separates the good from the best is the continuity of language and expression - diners are taken on a journey and told a story - unfortunately for The Frog, it was a rather disjointed and confused story.


What we had: 

The TimeOut 11 course set menu:

  • Cocktail on arrival
  • Snacks:
    • Smoked cod, creme fraiche, caviar
    • BBQ beef, chilli, egg
    • Pork and lovage
    • Bread, chicken butter
  • Mains:
    • Mackerel, yoghurt, sea herbs
    • Celeriac, truffle, yolk, apple, dates
    • Hake, crab, seaweed
    • ‘Burnt’ piggy, kimchi, cauliflower
  • Cheese course: Cheese doughnuts
  • Pre-dessert: Beetroot dessert
  • Dessert:
    • Chocolates, cherries, caramel; or
    • Burnt toffee, salted malted ice cream, lemon; or
    • Passionfruit, rum, coconut

The snacks were fun, colourful and textural and moreish, although I did not taste much heat on the BBQ beef. The mains were all quite heavy and given that there were four of them, I feel a little bit of an over kill. The best by far was the Hake - it was cooked wonderfully and had a very interesting salt and vinegar crispy wisps on top in a creamy sauce. I also enjoyed the Celeriac as it was creamy and the truffle was fragrant. However, the Mackerel may be a bit too fishy for some and the pork lacked any real kimchi flavour and was again, quite heavy after the creamy dish of Hake. The cheese doughnuts sent me over the edge and I have to say, I only had a little of mine. I loved the matte hot pink plating of the beetroot dessert - it was curiously beautiful and the taste - very beetroot-y indeed. Unfortunately the other desserts weren’t particularly remarkable despite the use of dry ice in the chocolate cherry caramel number. 


The restaurant overall is rather confused - they’re plating up modern dishes, with quirky textures and good flavour combinations; however the curation of them is rather thrown together and has forgotten that less is more. The service needs training and practice (there was little to rather confused explanations of courses when asked); which was hard to hear over the music, which was curiously intense (interesting choice of EDM and Drum & Bass beats) and the interior, again rather confused. The logo reminds you of the Daintree Rainforest, the fairy lights and dried hops that decorate the semi outdoor ceiling in the front - an East London micro brewery; and graffiti and urban art in the inside dining area next to the kitchen echoing the dance party vibe of the music. 


I always try to measure my experience with the restaurant’s objectives; however it’s hard to really know what they are when there isn’t a consistent story here where they are trying to do too much. I really do believe The Frog has potential, however the team needs to bring it back to basics - keep it simple, simplify the menu, make sure your staff have tried the food and understand the menu; and at the very least, turn down the drum and bass.


Tip: opt for the smaller set menu as the mains are quite heavy.


Good For: something different, date night, dinner with friends.

tastemaker

My husband and I took advantage of a three course meal and glass of wine deal from Time Out in order to give The Frog a try. Situated a short walk from our home near Spitalfield's market and Brick Lane, the location is trendy and has a buzz around it before you even walk through the doors.


I really enjoyed the outdoor canopy decoration, however, we were seated inside in what seemed to be a dining extension to the kitchen. The staff were all very friendly, took the time to make sure we were comfortable and answered any questions we had about the meal options.


We opted to pay extra for a couple 'eat with your hands' snacks and really enjoyed the cheese doughnuts with black truffle and the bread with chicken butter but sadly, upon reflection, felt this was the high point of the meal. 


I chose a celeriac starter which was heavily seasoned and combined to make an unusual flavour which didn't sit right from the start. My husband chose steak tartare which was enjoyable but quite overpowering and towards the end of the dish, he'd mentioned he wouldn't order it again. For mains, I chose hake with curry sauce and sweetcorn. It was really delicious until you found a mouthful of the same seasoning used in the starter which had been sprinkled over the dish making for an incredibly salty dish which I found myself gulping down water to tolerate.


By the time dessert came around, my expectations had been drastically reduced and in choosing 'Chocolate, cherries, caramel' (no further explanation on the menu) I didn't know what to expect. The dessert arrived in a cloud of liquid-nitrogen and a frozen meringue-type lump was dished on top of a chocolate torte and cracked with a spoon. The dramatics were entertaining but the dessert was just ok. 


It's great to try new places but this hasn't been our best dining experience and we wouldn't rush back.

Tastemaker

We had a fantastic night at The Frog just before Christmas. They offer one of the best tasting menus in London, it's good value and every single course was delicious and unpretentious. The only reason I'm not giving The Frog 5 stars is because the venue feels a bit temporary, like a pop up, so that was a shame. But that is definitely not a reason to miss out... One of my favourite meals of 2016 without a doubt and it was great to see Adam in the kitchen! 


This has to be the best food combined with the most relaxed and friendly atmosphere anywhere in the country


The Frog has the best tasting menu in London without a doubt. I have been countless times, and it never disappoints. Great for date night, a catch up with friends and family, or if you're just in the mood to spoil yourself, why not treat yourself to some alone time and surround yourself with the ultimate food porn - cheese doughnuts, need I say more?! The restaurant feels like a home away from home, and the staff are so friendly, you will never feel like a billy no mates in The Frog. 


I couldn't recommend it more. Get yourself down there, you won't be disappointed.


I absolutely love this place, the atmosphere, the service and relation quality-price is amazing! I always take there all my friends! the chef has a talent and I absolutely love his food! you will never get tired of this place as there is always new food to try :) I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!! My favorites are: celeriac salad, ox, and the Hake....yumyyyy!!

tastemaker

Just a minute walk from the Brick Lane food market, you find the restaurant The Frog.


At first sight the place looks nice but you do not expected to find Adam Handling - the Chef of the Year 2014 - in the kitchen, but here he is!


I finally push their door after hearing people telling how great the food was, so I needed to give it a try.

First good surprise the menu is not long like the arm, which is for me usually guarantee of fresh product cooked on the day.

Then the Chef introduced recently on the menu the GBM dishes. What is GBM? GBM my little friend stand for Great Britain Menu, the TV show where Adam created the dishes he proposes on the menu under that name.


Unfortunately the dishes are pricy compared to the rest of the menu which is already not for every budget.

I wasn’t willing to put too much money for my lunch so I decided to ignore the GBM dishes even if the Wagyu beef was tempting.


To start, we shared with my friends 4 snacks, the pork and lovage, the bread with chicken butter, the beer beef chili and the cheese doughnut with summer truffle. The winner of this tasting is the beer beef chili, but let’s be honest it had no competition at all! The pork was tender but fool of oil and not really tasty; we started with it and were really disappointed… The chicken butter, well, this is butter, with a taste of chicken crispy skin. Original but does not really deserve it space on the menu with the other dish if you want my opinion. The cheese doughnut was actually good, nothing exceptional, but I’d eat some again. But the beef was delicious! Unfortunately really small, but the menu is specifying it, only a few bites each.


The “starters” were not the best start for the lunch, but the mains saved the day (or the lunch I should say).


I order the beef with black garlic and sour cream. The dish came with a few potatoes. The presentation was really fancy! It was outstanding; the meat was nearly melting in my mouth! At that moment I understood why I heard people telling how great the food was!

No doubt all products are the best quality they can be for the price in the menu.


However, the dish is quite small, even with the snacks at the beginning of the meal. I would recommend sharing 3 Sea/Land plates and probably even adding one Garden plate if you want to make sure you are full at the end of the meal.


Probably go there rather for diner, to take your time enjoying the tasting menu and maybe even adding the beer or wine option to it!


Should really be a 3.5 star review but... While a huge fan of Adam Handling from his Masterchef UK days where he was runner up - I was super excited to try this place particularly as he was featuring three of his dishes from the Great British Menu (he was runner up for Scotland). My partner loved every dish except the one I had him finish off for me. Him being a meat eater, was just spoilt for choice. Me being a long time vegetarian I found that there was too much of the same (but delicious) topping of grated Parmesan and Black Truffle on several vegetarian dishes. So of all the vegetarian dishes that we ordered off the a la carte menu (and we ordered all of them), only one dish did not have truffle or Parmesan being the Beetroot dish which I thought was very beetroot in a good way! Also we were at an early dinner on Saturday and they had already run out of the GBM fish dish. However my partner was super happy with his Octopus dish. My "main" dish was the mac'n'cheese (again covered in Parmesan and truffle), I found that for the flavour (very strong and very salty and I'm a high salt person) was just too much. Would have been better garnished with lambs lettuce or cress. My partner had to finish it for me which he didn't mind whatsoever but agreed with me that it was a touch too savoury for the size of the portion. Dessert wise - perfect portion for my partner (chocolate dish) but I found mine a tad too small especially the quenelle of malted ice cream was like... A mouthful! All in all a mixed experience for vegetarians but really great if you are not.


Last night's dinner at Adam's new restaurant, The Frog @thefroge1

Like everyone else I have a wish list of things to do - for some of us it's traveling for others like me it's where to eat. Having dinner at Adam's @adamhandling has been on top of my wish list for a long time. Finally last night we made it to this newest restaurant The Frog

Being indecisive, we were recommended the tasting menu a great choice as you get to sample Frog's innovative dishes from across the menu!

I walked in with very high expectations and as I said to the Chefs @kerr_steven @jamie_park1 what was delivered was a bit like heaven.

Every single dish was an explosion of flavour and definitely loved the presentation and the atmosphere. All the team was very professional and very friendly at the same time! The chef hand delivered each dish very relaxed atmosphere!!! Definitely I would go again!!!

tastemaker

The best thing about this place is the outdoor seated area. We frequented on one of the hottest days of the year last week, and while sitting on the bamboo and palm tree decorated patio under a canopy of vines and flowers, sipping cocktails in giant wicker chairs, we felt like we were in a luxurious Caribbean hotspot. The only problem was the decadence came at a price, the seating is a bit cramped, so we ended up having to share a table. Also, around us were a fair few rich city types waving their fifty pound notes at the waiters, and it seemed as though because we weren’t suited and booted we weren’t treated with the same level of service as the others. The staff were quite abrupt, but maybe they were just hot and bothered, who knows. I didn’t really understand the branding either, as the interior of the restaurant and the atmosphere was far too conservative to match the fun and quirky name and logo. If you can zone out the babble around you and can tolerate the blunt staff then it really is a lovely place for drinks.

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