Unsuspecting boozers would be surprised to learn that on the 1st floor of the Ten Bells pub is a critically acclaimed restaurant, called Upstairs at the Ten Bells, that serves up some stunning food. A pop-up restaurant experiment that became so popular that it’s now a permanent fixture at the back end of Spitalfields market.
Located at the back-end of Spitalfields Market it is a perfect spot to enjoy some excellent food while watching the strolling shoppers pass by. We’ve visited on several occasions and each time we were impressed by the level of cooking. Upstairs at the Ten Bells is one of those restaurants that is so dependable if you’re looking, for instance, for good Sunday lunch experience.
Upstairs at the Ten Bells originally started when ‘The Young Turks’ (4 high-calibre young chefs) took residence above the Ten Bells pub for a 3 month stint, which was extended by a few months after the project received a lot of praise. Since then 3 of the chefs have moved on to open a new dining venture, the Clove Club. However the remaining chef Isaac Mchale decided to keep involved on a day to day basis.
The ground floor of the Ten Bells pub still serves as a boozing ground for what seems to be Londoners favourite past time (even Jack the Ripper used to frequent the pub in the good old days). However, nowadays the pub is gaining more notoriety for its food than for its liquor or infamous historic customers.
During our latest visit to Upstairs at the Ten Bells we tried the following dishes:
- Complimentary sour dough bread
- Buttermilk Chicken & Pine Salt (9/10)
- Beetroot Cracker & Buffalo Ricotta (9/10)
- “Spello” Bean Stew, Lovage, Globe & Violet Artichoke (7.5/10)
- Fried Squid, Roveja Peas Polenta & Winter Tomatoes (8/10)
- Oxtail Consommé, Barley, Bone Marrow & Lovage Tortellini (9/10)
- Veal Tongue, Pickled Red Meat Radishes, Bread & Marrow Sauce (9.5/10)
- Haunch of Venison, Sauerkraut, Spätzle & Pickled Currants (9.5/10)
- Braised Endive, Raclette Fonduta & Beer Pickled Onion (7.5/10)
- Chestnut Mont Blanc, Poached Pear & Whisky Honey (8/10)
- Yorkshire Rhubarb, Buttermilk Mousse & Milk Crisps (9.5/10)
It’s cooking like this that gets us excited. Don’t be fooled by its trendy exterior. If the food at Upstairs at the Ten Bells was served in more formal surroundings it would be considered one of London’s better fine dining experiences. In fact, Upstairs at the Ten Bells reminds me a lot of Nuno Mendes’ Corner Room; extremely good cooking for a very decent price in a laid back and chilled environment. If the food at the soon to open Clove Club is anything near the level of Upstairs at the Ten Bells it promises to be a good Spring for foodies in London.
The total bill at Upstairs at the Ten Bells came to £100 (including optional service charge, 2 glasses of wine and a glass of the housemade blood orange juice).
Food rating for Upstairs at the Ten Bells: 8.5/10
Service rating for Upstairs at the Ten Bells: 9/10
Overall rating for Upstairs at the Ten Bells: 8.5/10
(The overall rating is based on personal taste, opinion of the ambiance and the price)