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BARBICAN LIFE


Three new ones to try Restaurant REVIEWS


This issue we look at three restaurants which have all opened since our last issue – two just off Bishopsgate and the third with spectacular views atop One New Change in Cheapside.


Bishopsgate Kitchen showing some of the original internal features which have been incorporated into the restaurant design


A


s I was sitting down to commence writing this article I was confronted by a headline in the Evening Standard –


“Time to go Dutch as cost of dinner for two in London passes £90”. Yes, eating out is an expensive exercise these days and in the area in an around the Barbican there are plenty of places to eat which will comfortably see one pay over £90 for two for three courses, a bottle of wine and tea or coffee afterwards plus service. And if one indulges in one or two cocktails beforehand, and adds perhaps a bottle of sparkling water and a digestif, the £100 mark is broken pretty easily.


Thus it is essential if any restaurant is to survive in what is a pretty cutthroat business that it provides attractive enough food and ambience to make customers wish to return – or at least to recommend it to friends and acquaintances.


The first restaurant we are covering in this issue, though, would probably not break the bank in these terms and the ambience is bright, almost rustic, but on totting perhaps a typical meal up would probably get close to the £90 mark for two – but there are plenty of ways of coming in well under this level because of the structure of the menu.


The ‘deli’ counter at the entrance to the Bishopsgate Kitchen


The restaurant is the brand new Bishopsgate Kitchen – the latest offering from benugo which also runs the London wall Bar and Kitchen by the Museum of London. It is just off Bishopsgate in Brushfield Street, close to Spitalfields


Market and right opposite the glass headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland (which apparently provides good source of diners, particularly at lunchtimes). The restaurant is very much of the


modern genre encouraging a perhaps more casually dressed clientele – one would feel out of place if one dressed up to go there. The restaurant area iS a brightly lit, relatively small (45 cover), contemporary and brightly lit space squeezed into an older building – and one has to say the designers did very well. It is both a restaurant and deli, and the former features a 14 seat elevated central sharing table for those who like the modern trend towards refectory style eating and a number of two and four seat tables. There is also an outward facing bar along the window which could be brought into use at busy times. Colourful toasters seem to abound as part of the decor scheme and one supposes they would be very useful for perhaps the Sunday brunch! The open kitchen spills into the entrance/deli area forming a larder which displays the ingredients in a working double-height storage wall.


Overall the ambience is very positive and it is interesting to see this confirmed by several reviews in some of the more popular eating out websites. People who go there, are mostly very complimentary.


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Another modern trend which the restaurant utilises well, and is one way of keeping overall costs down, is that it encourages diners to partake of sharing boards carrying a variety of small dishes (all priced at £4.50), which include some extremely interesting and tasty options like chorizo scotched quails eggs, marinated artichoke hearts, baked goats cheese in honey, feta stuffed cherry peppers etc, as well as selections of cured meats (which we understand come from Brindisa in Borough Market or cheeses from Neals Yard, also in Borough Market). Thus one can eat tapas style – or one could use a selection of these as perhaps a shared starter as there are also six main course options ranging from poached eggs on ratatouille (yes it sounds a strange combination but am told it is excellent) at £8.50 up to a sirloin steak with chips and béarnaise sauce at £16. Sea bass with piperade and samphire is £11.50, lamb chops with couscous and cumin yoghurt at £12.50 and there are a couple of salads at £9.00 and £9.50 – not exactly bank breaking prices.


All the still wines are available by the glass, half litre or bottle. There is a fairly limited selection with bottle prices from £15.50 to £39. There is also a limited dessert menu all at £4.50. Be wary of the rich chocolate torte – apparently the chef is a chocaholic and this is one of the densest you will find anywhere and absolutely delicious.


Bishopsgate Kitchen is open all day from 7.30 am when there is a special breakfast menu. And it is open Saturdays and Sundays for brunch up until early evening. Or you can just drop in for a coffee to try out the ambience for yourself.


Bishopsgate Kitchen is at No. 4 Brushfield


Street. It doesn’t take bookings. It is open from 7.30 am to 10 pm weekdays and from 10.00 am to 6 pm Saturdays and Sundays. It would be a great place to rest ones feet after a visit to Spitalfields Market on a Sunday. Definitely recommended as somewhere a bit different with very tasty food. Probably to do it justice would end up costing around £35- 40 a head – so within the average price quoted at the beginning of the article.


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