Young Turks at the Ten Bells

84 Commercial Street  London E1 6LY      Tel: 020 7366 1721

If you had stepped into the Ten Bells for a pint over the last six months you could be forgiven for missing the scribble of neon lights in the far corner of the room. It’s the only indication of the temporary residents, who have turned the want for affordable yet inventive food into a coveted reality. I was lucky enough to sample the trio’s resourceful food at a perfect London summer's night at Frank's last year, despite the drizzle they injected the essence of July in their food; meats straight off the grills and foraged seasonal veg. Since October they swapped the view of the city’s skyline with the lights of Shoreditch's glittering strip, but kept the set up relaxed choosing the East end boozer's weathered oak dining tables and shabby embossed brocade wallpaper to house their next venture.
Pigeon sausage and Chutney
Between them they have and continue to cover some of the most important culinary bases in the business, now they're doing it their own way. It's a match made in heaven with the cooking covered and the Clove Club boys taking care of the guests with unwavering charm and gusto. The final night as with all the previous was brimming with industry aficionado’s and food lovers alike all anticipating the kingly five course feast. Admirably the line up of dishes are rotated weekly in accordance to season and availability which at a humble thirty eight pounds seems like a steal considering the extra care and thought applied each week.
Butterhead Lettuce, Goat's Curd and Toasted Almonds
Chicken and Pine Salt
It was the grand finale of a half year stint and having been before the menu read like a best of compilation. Some  with the same base flavours taking on a new form from before, such as swapping of ox tongue for beef in a dish still accompanied with beetroot now in raw slithers rather than of jam, or completely reworked to be future classics. Plainly speaking we kicked off the evening with sausages, fried chicken and cheese on a leaf. Perhaps not sounding that out of the ordinary but when sausages are filled with intense pigeon meat, the chicken aromatic with pine and the cheese is pillowy goats curd, that puts it in a Young Turks context.
Pheasant Egg, Venison Broth and Peas
The starter was a plump pheasant egg island which oozed out molten yolk into the pool of crystal clear consommé, a delicious meeting of pure savouriness and dense richness. The dotting of golden crouton craters provided a crunch against the smooth sweet peas.  Lamb hearts seem to be a favourable meat for the Young Turks from the ockabasi wraps at Franks and now to an unusual surf and turf dish of diced duck hearts and anchovies. It is another delightful looking dish with singed moons of onion, shimmery backs of the little fish  slinked over the pink hearts, offsetting the flavour ping pong of salty, pickled and rich.
Lamb's Heart, Grilled Onion and Anchovy
The final savoury dish was an all round favourite, simply seared quality meat on a bed of tricolour freshness. You could say that the Dexter breed is about quality not quantity since it is known for being a small beast but with excellent marbling. This was a perfect example, with a buttery nuttiness resonating in each piece. The folds of white and pink beetroot added sweet crunch whilst the Twekesbury mustard sharpened everything up.

Dexter Rib, Beetroot and Twekesbury Mustard
The final flourishes again at face value were pleasing, touching on a nostalgic feel. If I had a Scottish grandmother she would have definitely favoured cranachan as a fail safe desert and serve up bulging foil wrapped tea cakes to those dropping by for a cuppa. But these were the last paragraphs of the Ten Bells chapter, were family favourites going to cut it as show stoppers? Of course they would, the cranachan was dreamy; fluffy sweetened cream, tart rhubarb, toasted ground oatmeal offset the oaky notes in the geniusly drizzled whiskey. The tea cake was of heightened greatness incomparable to the memories any of us would have consumed as a sweet toothed child, the mallow was ultra mellow, the biscuit had enough bite but gave in to crumbling and all was thinly cased in dark chocolate. A wonderful accompaniment to a little Square Mile coffee pick me up.
I have spoken a lot previously of honesty in restaurants. A sense of genuine good food intention spread across the edible offer and service, pardon my gushing but I would say that the Young Turks exemplify this approach. There is a certain admirable understatement about what they do, with a chameleonic approach to their surroundings they pare down everything else allowing their food to speak for them. As we and the rest of the room toasted our last delectable mouthful, we were already yearning for the next instalment, which by the sounds of the whisperings will be soon and permanent.

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