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Review – Lyle’s

At first sight Lyle’s in Shoreditch actually looks and feels like the kind of restaurant that I don’t like. A loud and overly bright open-plan, brick walled hall bearing comparison to a train station. The small tables appear lost and harshly exposed to the cold concrete floor with few able to comfort the punters with a corner or wall to hide against. The restaurant is faced by an imposing industrial kitchen, an impressive chrome cladded machine of modern British cuisine. Shame it is lacking a counter with bar stools, something I would love to see.

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Despite feeling an initial lack of privacy and comfort Lyle’s was one of the smartest and most interesting meals of the last months. James Lowe, formerly part of the “ground-breaking trio” The Young Turks, is deservedly hailed as one of the new wizards of British Cuisine. His restaurant showcases everything London stands for – innovation, style, attitude and a rich and unique heritage.

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Longhorn Shin, Mashed Potato & Ramson

The dishes at Lyle’s are sophisticated and smart. Really smart. The achieved precision is of a degree that reminded me of The Fat Duck – a compliment of the highest order. Whenever the Michelin Star will come – nobody will be surprised.

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Saddleback, Chegworth Leaves & Anchovy

I’d be hard pressed to find an example of a more unimpaired dish than the Saddleback Pork. Truly and unapologetically British. A perfect roast is rarely improved by abandoning the traditional ways, but at Lyle’s it is faithfully transformed into a confident and striking homage to French Au Jus cooking. The fresh leaves from what I can only imagine is a beautiful valley in Kent are accompanied by the statutory crackling – in this case a crunchy powder of salty scratchings. Tradition without repetition, perfection without pretension.

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Chocolate & Soured Cream

Lyle’s is a great restaurant with a world class kitchen that London can be proud of. I might not be in love with the premises, but the food was one of the highlights of 2015.

[8/10]   Lyle’s, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ London

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