I approached Brick Lane. I had heard tell of a new supper club. Would this be a private club, like the famous one run by the Swiss chef? Perhaps I'd have to adopt some strange misogynistic ethos? I hoped not. Surely the Brickhouse would be more democratic and have some East London style? I strode past the beigel bakeries and glanced sadly at the down-by-law hookah lounges.
Examining the menu outside Brickhouse, the nature of the club became clear. There isn't just food on offer, there's a bit of showbiz. In the evenings you get a performance to go with your meal. A proper performance . . . not a shouty chef or a waiter with dramatic inclinations. Mostly it seems to be burlesque on offer - that can cover, or uncover, a multitude of sins.
I was there at lunchtime though, so the trapeze hung unused while I ordered. This does mean you that lunch is cheaper than dinner though - £24 for three courses rather than £35 in the evening. The menu looks reasonably contemporary and there are nods haute cuisine fashion - foams and shotglasses, sherberts and savoury ice cream.
Bread, from the Bread Factory, was fresh and delicious, I particularly liked some with tomato in it. Venison carpaccio made a good light starter though the Szechaun pepper was barely noticeable. The parmesan used was inoffensive but the dish would have been vastly improved by using a better one.
As a main course I had a dish of roasted scallops with parmesan mash, pearl onions , bacon and sun-dried tomatoes. I wolfed this down. it's a good combination of flavours, the scallops were fresh and succulent too. For a restaurant with foodie ambitions though, this dish is probably a little boring. I'd love to see something here to surprise or delight me. Go on, tip it into the 'wow' category.
For dessert, a lemon parfait with mascarpone and citrus 'sherbert'. Now the parfait was nice enough, though I would have welcomed some more lemony bitterness. What makes the sauce a sherbert though? Did it fizz? Was it powdery?
So, I can't really complain - the food was tasty and well-executed. And this is a more ambitious kind of food than Brick Lane has seen before. I'd love to see a bit more technical innovation and a more certain identity than simply 'Modern European'.
The supper club is a good idea too. Reindeer effectively proved the concept and the suitability of the locale last Christmas. I'm sure some people will see good food as an ideal excuse to see some tasteful deshabillé exhibitions . . . I will have to go back soon and check their full evening menu.
Brickhouse, 152c Brick Lane E1 020 7247 0005