Tuesday, May 06, 2008


A fashion for supper clubs seems to be sweeping through London, and it's one I throughly approve of. After Pigalle, we decided to checkout the Brickhouse, which has taken over a corner of the old Truman Brewery on the more fashionable end of Brick Lane, past all the hard-sell curry houses. (Oops, seems I never wrote up Pigalle...but it was very nice!)

It is a small, tall space, with a few tables on the ground floor and banquettes on the balcony overlooking the stage. It's also very white and industrial/minimalist looking - a bit more old-school glamour might have suited the ethos better.

Like in Pigalle, the food is moulded into a rather pricey set menu, but then there's no additional charge for entertainment -- on our visit a 1940s style band complete with army uniforms, preceded by some Betty Boop cartoons!

The menu sounded complicated with swirls of this and foams of that, but in the end the main ingredients were well-cooked, well-portioned and thus able to shine through. The rare tuna was very nice, while the foam effect softened the punch of the wasabi so as not to overpower the fish.

The honey roast quail was also good, even though I couldn't really taste the black truffle sauce.

The braised pork belly was beautifully crisp (to my horror I have discovered that crispness is not obligatory), served with lots of buttery brown shrimps.

The fillet of beef was rare as requested, though I would have preferred a good old-fashioned peppercorn sauce to the actual accompaniment of mustard ice cream.

The weird-flavoured ice cream was also not entirely successful in a stilton variant, served with two tiny warm eccles cakes. To me, the cakes were a bit too sweet and the ice cream lacked the svaouriness of a pure cheese to offset that.

The rosemary ice cream that came with the apple tarte tatin though was rather good, and the husband also liked the caramel milk shake in a mini glass with a mini straw.

Wine list split into good (from 15), great (mid 20s to mid 30s) and gorgeous (upto 179 in the reds). The food is set at 39.50 for 2 courses, though they sometimes have special offers to reduce this at the start of the week.

In all, the food was much more hit and less miss than one generally expects (or gets) in an entertainment-focused venue, and the band was great fun. It's not the cheapest night out, but I'd say it was decent enough value for money if you stick to the 'good' wine (we liked the Sangiovese for 18) and try and time your visit to coincide with a special offer. Shame about the lack of glamour though.

The Brickhouse, 152c Brick Lane, E1 6RU; Tel. 0207 247 0005 Tube: Aldgate East; www.thebrickhouse.co.uk

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