I’d been wanting to go to Lyle’s ever since a friend of mine recommended it a few weeks ago, and as Saturday was such a damp and miserable day, the idea of holing up in a restaurant was highly appealing.
Lyle’s is a bright, airy restaurant – the perfect setting for a long, leisurely meal – and the a la carte lunch menu is a list of pure deliciousness. Just take a look:
Dining here is tapas style: all the dishes are the size of a large starter and are made to be shared. 4-5 dishes between 2 certainly made for a perfectly sized lunch, although I do warn you that choosing which dishes you’d like is no easy feat. I’m usually a very decisive orderer, but even I struggled to narrow my choice – everything sounded so amazing! We nibbled on the delicious sourdough bread and butter provided, sipped on a carafe of the house wine and debated – mussels or chanterelles?
Finally, we settled on our choices, kicking off with oysters and pink pearl apple granita. They were completely divine! I’ve never had granita with oysters before, and I have to say the idea is genius. The cold sweetness paired very well with the salty oysters.
Next, the most perfectly autumnal dish arrived: pumpkin with whey butter and kale. The sauce was lip-smackingly good – I could have polished it all off with a spoon!
We’d decided on the mussels in the end, and I’m glad we did! They tasted wonderfully fresh, and happily this dish did arrive with a spoon so the broth didn’t go to waste either!
Next up – escargots! Always a favourite of mine:
And finally partridge, quince and celeriac. The partridge was cooked to perfection, and I loved the quince with it too.
We decided we could just about squeeze dessert and settled on pear, caramel and ginger and a damson bakewell tart, which we shared between us as well.
I have to admit that I was sadly rather disappointed by the desserts. Although pleasant, they definitely lacked the ‘wow’ factor of the main dishes, and next time I would go for the cheeseboard over anything sweet. Indeed, with so many lovely cafes to choose from in Shoreditch, I’d suggest saving dessert for somewhere else nearby.
Aside from the dessert, the rest of the meal was truly incredible, and I can’t wait to go back again another time. The supper menu is more limited, restricted to a set menu of 4 courses (for £44), but I love the variety of the lunch menu and definitely want to sample the other dishes.
As it was still solidly raining when we left, we decided on a stroll to Leila’s Shop for a coffee and hot chocolate (as well as a naughty custard tart – a Leila’s speciality and impossible to resist). My favourite way to pass time in the rain is to wander from one food spot to another (who am I kidding – this is pretty much my favourite pastime whatever the weather), and in Shoreditch you really are spoiled for choice! Leila’s is rather special though: I love the cosy interior and relaxed atmosphere of the cafe, and the shop next door is always filled with the most beautiful fruit and veg.
The hot chocolate is strong and good and a particular favourite of mine.
Have you ever been to Lyle’s or Leila’s before? What Shoreditch food spots would you recommend?