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July 7th, 2012

UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Food Art @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

 

Category:  Bistro (££) 

green traffic5 150x150 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

The Ten Bells is a lively pub in Commercial Street opposite Spitalfields Market which is infamous for its association with Jack the Ripper and, on a less grisly note, famous for its food.  Last year, the room above the pub had been taken over by The Young Turks & The Clove Club who created a much raved about and uniformly loved pop up restaurant.  I missed out on their months long stint which finished some time last autumn and was now happy to learn that Isaac McHale from the Young Turks and Giorgio Ravelli (formerly cooking a The Ledbury) are back Upstairs at the 10 Bells, this time with a permanent restaurant.

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Menu @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

The menu is short and sweet, fairly priced (starters around 6 pounds and mains around 15) and I basically wanted everything.  Portions are small, so it is worthwhile going for one of the snacks.  We went straight to the starters and left the restaurant still a little hungry.

The Salad of Tomatoes, Shiso & Iced Goats Milk (5.5) was a picture of a dish, with stunning colours and beautiful presentation.  It tasted as good as it looked.  Several different varieties of perfectly ripe and aromatic tomatoes, all tasting slightly different came with goat’s cheese ice crystals and warm and crispy bread crumbs. I adored the combination of not only the flavours but also the different textures and temperatures.  An occasional shiso leaf added an oriental touch.  I did not even get one bite of the Poached Egg, Fonduta & Gherkin (6.2) which probably speaks for the dish.

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Poached Egg, Fonduta & Gherkin (6.2) @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Salad of Tomatoes, Shiso & Iced Goats Milk (5.5)  @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

Like always in the summer, I love vegetables and purely vegetarian dishes, so I decided to try the only mains veggie option on the menu, King Oyster Mushrooms, Peas & Malted Rye (14.5).   This was the only dish which was not fully successful.  Even though the oyster mushrooms were beautifully cooked and the peas and pea shoots were as fresh as they come, I did not get the far too sour pickled onion and was also not entirely convinced by the malted rye.  Also, although advertised as a main course, it was more a starter sized portion and left me unsatisfied.  Brilliant on the contrary was the Smoked Pork Belly, Radishes & Oat Groats (16.5).  I am not the biggest fan of pork usually, so imagine how good a pork belly must be to leave me in utter enthusiasm.  I am one of these people (and you can sneer at me for this) who usually cuts off the fat but not at the Ten Bells where I savoured every little piece of adipose tissue.

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

King Oyster Mushrooms, Peas & Malted Rye (14.5) @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Smoked Pork Belly, Radishes & Oat Groats (16.5) @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Smoked Pork Belly and I finally got an iPhone

In the spirit of the Wimbledon week, I chose the Ten Bell’s interpretation of strawberries and cream, Strawberry Tart, White Chocolate & Elderflower Ice Cream (6.2).  This was a lovely and light finish to the meal: 2 crispy layers of filo pastry were filled with lightly whipped white chocolate cream and topped with sun-ripened (at least they tasted sun-ripened, even though  they realistically can’t have seen much sun) English strawberries.  This all was made perfect by a generous helping of creamy elderflower ice cream on top.

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Strawberry Tart, White Chocolate & Elderflower Ice Cream (6.2) @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

 

 UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

Rustic and informal  @ Upstairs at the 10 Bells

The food at Upstairs at the Ten Bells is inventive and unique without losing the comfort factor, and this is often a balance restaurants don’t pull of very well.  Most importantly, it is affordable and very good value for money.  I also liked the relaxed atmosphere also helped by the fact that the waiters appeared to enjoy themselves sharing some good-looking Bloody Mary while still serving us well – what can I say, I will be back!

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Ambiance: 8/10
  • Value for Money: 8/10
  • Chances of Returning: 90%
  • Verdict: Beautiful creative cooking without breaking the bank

 There are some more people who very much enjoyed the ‘new’ Upstairs at the 10 Bells: The Skinny Bib, Hollow Legs and Rocket and Squash.

Upstairs at The Ten Bells

84 Commercial Street

E1 6LY

http://tenbells.com/

biglink UPSTAIRS AT THE 10 BELLS (Spitalfields)

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