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Eastside Inn


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Three colleagues and I tried the Eastside Inn today – Bjorn van den Horst’s new restaurant in Smithfield. I wasn’t a fan of La Noisette so, hedging our bets, we went for the ‘Business Express Lunch’: £35 for 3 courses, plus £10 for two glasses of wine.

The menu was limited, as one might expect, but the starter options were rather uninspiring: smoked chicken season salad or chilled pea soup. We all opted for the pea soup. Well executed but, well, not very exciting. The splash of rather good olive oil on the plate and some decent ham added to what was otherwise a rather monotonous plate of pea cream.

Main course choices were pan fried fillet of plaice with fondant potato and mussels with a bouillabaisse style sauce, or duck breast with spiced root veg and baby pak choi. These certainly read better on the menu but, again, failed to impress. It was just very safe cooking. The duck portion was small – probably half a breast (?) – and a few pieces of veg. The sauce was little more than soy, honey and some stock. Some potatoes wouldn’t have improved the mediocrity of the dish, but would have bulked it out to a reasonable lunch.

Pudding was a choice between cheese and a chocolate, praline and tonka bean concoction. Visually, this was much more what I was expecting from van der Horst - a large hollow ball of dark chocolate with miscellaneous fillings. With warm chocolate sauce added at the table, it broke its banks and a tonka bean and praline ooze gushed onto the plate. Popping candy in the base was a surprise element. So far so good, but the eating failed to meet expectations. A colleague remarked it tasted like a Toblerone the other like a Magnum, and they were not far off. In the end, the taste didn’t live up to the vision.

And that was it. No bread, no canapés, no extras, except for some average olives while we looked over the menu. So, nearing the price of Le Gavroche’s deal, this failed to offer equivalent quality or value for money. While Le Gavroche’s menu works, in that it compels you to return and dine a la carte, you leave the Eastside Inn wondering, “is that all they are capable of?”.

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While Le Gavroche’s menu works, in that it compels you to return and dine a la carte,

Did that just once, in 1992, and I can STILL remember the horror of the final bill. What Le Gavroche's lunch menu compels you to do, IMHO, is to go back and have the lunch menu again, and again, not to go back and spend what, three times as much? for the al a carte....

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While Le Gavroche’s menu works, in that it compels you to return and dine a la carte,

Did that just once, in 1992, and I can STILL remember the horror of the final bill. What Le Gavroche's lunch menu compels you to do, IMHO, is to go back and have the lunch menu again, and again, not to go back and spend what, three times as much? for the al a carte....

There's certainly some element of that. But, if I'm looking for dinner, albeit an expensive one, I would now consider le Gav on the back of the quality of the lunch.

Back on topic, Eastside is unlikely to see us return, lunch or dinner. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good.

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I went for the set lunch about a month ago in the posher side of the restaurant

I had a scallop and pea salad starter which was beautiful and for main a skate with a beure blanc & beure noire sauce.

Dessert was superb peach concoction with what looked like a hairy troll on the top.

I thought the cooking was superb, and some of the a la carte stuff looked excellent, but you are right that the bread thing was annoying, not being offered any bread was a bit of a miss as it wasn't the largest of lunches so some bread would have really helped.

I heard apparently they do provide bread if asked but don't offer it if not requested.

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I went for the set lunch about a month ago in the posher side of the restaurant

I had a scallop and pea salad starter which was beautiful and for main a skate with a beure blanc & beure noire sauce.

Dessert was superb peach concoction with what looked like a hairy troll on the top.

I thought the cooking was superb, and some of the a la carte stuff looked excellent, but you are right that the bread thing was annoying, not being offered any bread was a bit of a miss as it wasn't the largest of lunches so some bread would have really helped.

I heard apparently they do provide bread if asked but don't offer it if not requested.

Sound like safe, unexceptional dishes too, except the pud.

When the website sample menu is as copied below, the lunch options just seem to have had all the fun sucked out of them!

Watermelon salad "Matthew Norman"

Courgette flower, feta and tapenade

Almond gazpacho

Smoked paprika prawns and tomato sorbet

Foie gras

Espresso syrup and amaretto foam

Warm Scottish lobster

Caramelized endive and vanilla brown butter

Brouillade

Organic egg and sea urchin

Braised veal sweetbreads

Mosaic of vegetables, red mustard and dandelion

Icelandic Cod

Pickled cucumber, ajo blanco and Teruel ham

Poached wild turbot

Jersey royales, snails confit and beurre rouge

Landais Chicken breast en cocotte

Girolles, rice pilaf and vin jaune

Veal belly

Mussel tartare, veloute and coriander condiment

White and yellow peach fantasy

Pink champagne sorbet

Sunshine vacherin flambée

Strawberry and tarragon

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Dessert was superb peach concoction with what looked like a hairy troll on the top.

What did the hairy troll taste like?

Sarah

Brilliant

it was a kind of peach flavoured candy floss on top of a grilled peach on top of a biscuity thing on top of a kind of ceviche of peachy

Good dish

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  • 1 year later...

I never did get around to dining here, perhaps because when it was originally fine dining, it, or the pricing did not appeal.

That changed when Bjorn cooked a wonderful dish "Al Cremat" on Saturday Kitchen. I just had to eat it.

Sad to say I will not be dining here because it has become one of this years "casualties"

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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