East London Eats: Lyle's

September 18, 2014

There is for me a time and place for being an intrepid gastronomical gadabout. Usually I save my food treks for vacations in more exotic locales but as much I aspire to lead the sort of life of leisure that reads: Eat. Swim. Sleep. Read. Repeat. the rather sobering truth is that I'm no longer the lush I used to be. Now you're just some lady of leisure that I used to know, some lady-y-y... Digressing. In the interest of being informative in the way of East London's gastronomical offerings, I wholly and unselfishly make it a point to try a new eatery once a week in Shoreditch, Dalston, any postcode that starts with an E. Representin', innit. So far I've offered my opinion on Typing Room and Well & Bucket in Bethnal Green, and DF/ Mexico on Brick Lane but somehow always forget to take my camera to Rotorino's, never mind that's a blog post for another day. In the meanwhile here's one of my locals, Lyle's in Shoreditch.

Since Lyle's opened its doors at The Tea Building on Shoreditch High Street (just opposite the overground and Boxpark) in May, the experience has been described by reviews as a long, leisurely affair of fashionable, perfectionist food in a semi-industrial, relaxed setting. You walk through a discreetly numbered door (56, blink and you'll miss) it into the sort of industrial-chic space so beloved by Pinterest boards. High ceiling and exposed piping, check. Elegant, minimal, flooded with light from high windows, check. 

And what of the food? The menu changes daily. Dinner is a five-course tasting menu at £39, but I prefer to order ala carte at lunch time. The offerings are very rustic English; lamb, partridge (if you're lucky you may find some shot inside), eel broth, English cheeses and so forth. The portions are well presented (perfectionism comes to mind) and small. I'd recommend ordering two or three things each to share. 

We started with bread, naturally.

For starters, Henry had the smoked eel broth while I begun with raw beef & mussels, the closest thing on the menu to steak tartare. 

For mains Henry had the red partridge, perfectly cooked in pickled elderberries. I enjoyed the lamb breast & pink fir apple potatoes which came in a shallow broth. The tender texture of the meat and cripsy skin was very much like duck, indeed I had to stop and check if I hadn't in fact been served Peking duck. 

We cleansed our palates with the sunrise apple sorbet from the pudding menu before moving on to dessert. I tackled the treacle tart with milk ice-cream while Henry had a cheese plate of Neal's Yard cheese, Lincolnshire poacher, and Old Ford.

It was all very delicious, but a tiny bit steep for a casual lunch at £73 for two including our teas. I'd say Lyle's is more a 'reasonably-special' occasion sort of place rather than an everyday lunch break spot, especially as I tend to equate feeling full and portion size with value for money. No one feels this way more than my boyfriend in his 'King Henry the IX' persona whose sole line is 'Oi waiter! Does thou expect me, thy monarch, to dine on such meaaaager portions thus here?' and then when the waiter goes 'Whaddya mean?' His Majesty picks up a cheese and bellows 'This cheeses, son!' (Don't take it personally, it's just a phase he's going through)

Like so.

If you fancy yourself a languid dining experience of complex, beautifully presented dishes of  traditional English food prepared with great expertise in a most fastidious and pleasing manner by  wildly talented chef James Lowe, and don't mind paying a little more for smaller and more refined portions, you can find Lyle's at the Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ.



  1. You guys should come to my pop up on 25th Oct - steak tartare followed by game (venison) pie, kinda like an expansion of your starter at Lyle's, but MUCH bigger portion sizes!!

    Rosie xx

    1. YES YES YES to all of that! I'll wear my eating trousers (yoga pants)! x

    2. Yey!! Full details here - http://grubclub.com/a-little-lusciousness-a-little-lusciousness/1676 and LOTS of cheese for the regimental one! haha!! xx

    3. Cheese is a kind of meat, it's a tasty yellow treat, I milk it from my teat, but I try to be discreet. Ohhhh cheeeeese!