Restaurant Review: Lyle’s Shoreditch

We visited Lyle’s to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We had decided to visit for lunch on a Saturday, as during lunch service you can choose your dishes (at dinner you can only order from a set menu). Lyle’s has been receiving some big recommendations over the last few years, and this year rose from 65 to 54 in The Worlds 50 Best. This is often seen as a good yardstick as it’s voted for by chefs and people in the trade (compared to Michelin stars which are awarded by a separate organisation). Lyle’s also holds 1 Michelin star at the time of our booking.

Location and Decor

Lyle’s is located in trendy Shoreditch, around 10 minutes walk from Liverpool Street station or opposite Shoreditch station and BoxPark.

Lyle’s is very much styled as a modern, trendy warehouse. When we arrived it was around half-full but filled up as we ate. The restaurant is very much concrete floors, white painted walls and exposed pipework. The open kitchen sits at the rear and the front is filled with large windows which look across the BoxPark (not exactly the nicest view!). Tables are bare wood and everything is very simple — certainly no white table-cloths and stuffiness here!

Menu

Lyle’s serves a simple menu, normally made up of around 8–10 small plates, a couple of larger plates and 4–5 options for dessert. We decided to share a number of the plates between us. All of the dishes were cooked really well, our personal favourite being the larger beef plate, although all of them were inventive. The prawns were particularly interesting as they were soft shell and everything could be eaten.

Sourdough Bread and Butter
Soft Shell Prawns
Grouse with Damson Toast
Smoked Eel with Cabbage
Devon Flank of Beef and Heritage Carrots
Gooseberry Bakewell Tart
Black fig with fig leaf ice-cream

Service

Service was professional and very friendly throughout. Lyle’s is certainly not stuffy and we felt a little overdressed in our shirt and smart jeans (many people were simply dressed in t-shirts and jeans. We felt very welcomed throughout. The only minor point was a lack of juices to drink (we generally don’t drink and its great to have some good non-alcoholic options).

Ambiance

Lyle’s is very buzzy and trendy and certainly not the ideal place for a relaxing meal. For a wedding anniversary I’d ideally like somewhere a little quieter (there is generally fast-tempo music playing all of the time). I would certainly recommend it for party’s or birthdays as they would fit right in. In fact, while we were there a large party (which we think was fellow chef Virgilio Martinez who runs one of the best restaurants in the world and also is behind Lima in London).

Overall

Overall we really enjoyed the food at Lyle’s. To be very honest we were not blown away by things and struggled to see why it was voted so highly in The Worlds 50 Best. It’s certainly a place worth visiting. If you don’t like stuffy restaurants but want to eat well then this would be an ideal spot. While the food is certainly not cheap, it’s also not too pricy and the small plates allow you to try out lots of different flavours. Also, probably better to go for a non-romantic occasion!