Lyles has been on my radar but with some mixed reviews, it had dropped down my ‘go to’ list. However, I had a much needed lunch with a fellow coffee lover Brian from Brian’s Coffee Spot and we had both heard of the mysterious coffee bar inside Lyle’s, all of a sudden it was an easy choice. Good coffee in a restaurant is like going on a good date, either you will never have one, or be too drunk to appreciate it… We are going for lunch, finally the perfect opportunity to enjoy an after meal coffee.
We are seated in their restaurant, based in the old tea factory building shared with Shoreditch house, Pizza East and others, so it’s hipster honed with finesse; warehouse high ceilings with exposed air-ducts, yet thankfully matching tables, and chairs with backs on them.
We are given some chunks of sourdough and butter with their daily changing menu. The menu is possibly the crux of the mixed reviews, as lunch is A la carte style sharing plates, and dinner is a four course tasting menu. Therefore going at lunch, feels like you get more options. Yay.
First to arrive at the table are sweetbreads, radishes and treacle, covered with edible flowers; although these flowers don’t add to the flavour, sweet breads wouldn’t win a beauty contest so I deemed them perfectly appropriate. Crunchy radish, with soft caramelised sweet breads, a wonderful pairing.
Next the smoked eel, hispi and dulse, recommended by the waitress. We were both hesitant about the ‘eel’ however it tasted of a lovely dense smoked white fish. The plates really play on the few ingredients working in harmony to compliment each flavour.
Now we have ticklemore and peas; ticklemore is a goats cheese which has been sliced into wafer thin pieces and covered in fresh locally grown peas. We could have done with double the cheese, it was creamy and delicious.
We have a ‘main course’ which we shared, monkfish, girolles and buckwheat. Monkfish being a meaty dense fish worked well with the girolles but it wasn’t a stand out dish like the smoked eel for me.
I am a dessert fan and so is Brian so we order up their classic treacle tart above..
and the loganberry granita with honey. Both desserts were delightful the treacle tart evoking childhood memories of dark molasses. The loganberry honey being a bright sharp berry granita with a honey mousse containing crunchy pieces which I favoured for its uniqueness, but it was a close call.
Finally we sat at their coffee bar and enjoyed two different pour overs, for more on the coffee check out Brian’s review (coffee expert) here.
Overall for a lunch in Shoreditch with coffee I thought it was incredibly good value for the quality/originality of food. And yes, dinner is a higher price and less choice, but such is Shoreditch, being a popular restaurant destination; it has a great atmosphere, and would be lovely setting for many occasions so definitely one to consider. If you love tasting menu restaurants some other great options are Pidgin in Hackney or Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green.
As for the coffee, it was excellent, with knowledgeable baristas and changing their coffee roasters regularly, don’t be shy to pop in.