Somehow I’ve never been to the Tower of London. However, when I do finally go (hopefully sometime this year if I get organised), at least I’ll know where to eat afterwards… maybe that’s what’s been stopping me? Anyway, it will be at a funny little restaurant called Rosemary Lane, which is in a strange location in the badlands between Tower Bridge and Whitechapel. This is one of those areas that keeps its charms well hidden – I only found this place through reading the Time Out guide to the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants. Reviews were uniformly positive about the French-Californian style food but commented on its quietness. And I found it completely different from any other restaurant I’ve ever been to. It’s in an old pub, with lots of dark wood and green velvet curtains, padded booth seats and low lighting. The music is of the Ella Fitzgerald jazzy variety, quite subdued but relaxing after a day’s work & there’s a mildly spooky, David Lynch atmosphere.
Our starters were preceded by some tiny bowls of artichoke, and after the main we received a tiny pear sorbet each – neither were advertised but it’s nice to get something unexpected, and you sense the generous presence of the chef in the kitchen – Cristina Anghelescu – saying: here, try this, you might like it.
The main course steak was perfectly cooked, the wine was good and the chocolate fondant pudding most divine. We walked back to Shoreditch afterwards via Spitalfields and Commercial Street and it’s closer than you think – this would be a great place to visit after the markets or a few drinks in Shoreditch, especially on Saturday nights when the chef prepares a tasting menu for £30. If her weeknight cooking is anything to go by this would be a unique experience.
This would be the perfect place to take people visiting London, for example, who want to try some good food in a calm, relaxing environment with friendly staff and the invisible presence in the kitchen of someone who clearly cares about food.
Rosemary Lane, 61 Royal Mint Street,Tower Hill, 020 7481 2602. It’s open for dinner & lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays. Worth mentioning that before 7pm there is a three-course menu for £19.