restaurants on bethnal green road

Beach Blanket Babylon – Shoreditch

Beach Blanket Babylon looks like someone took a beach hut, decked it in black chandeliers and velvet, and decided that it somehow warranted charging £11 for a drink. It’s the sort of place that tries really hard to be good, but when you strip out all the glitz, it’s still just a shack with a nice view.

I started with the calamari, which was served in a bamboo basket with a Japanese soup spoon full of aioli. The calamari was cooked nicely, but was largely devoid of any flavour in the batter, instead relying on the fairly rich dipping sauce to give it a bit of oomph.

We also had the liver pate, served with bread and a leafy salad.

The pate, looking more like bland paste, wasn’t very nice at all.  The presentation was horrible, and the ‘bread’ was nothing more than white bread with the crusts cut off. The sort of bread you can get in any random corner shop.  I was not a fan.

Luck turned with my main, a lovely seabass served over fennel and oranges.

The skin was crispy while the fish oh-so-tender. The fennel and orange gave it a nice summer freshness that meant I did not feel overstuffed after eating it.  I couldn’t have had any more or any less.

The fish and chips, however, were, like the calamari tasteless and overly greasy. The chips/fries were so overdone you couldn’t even tell they used to be potatoes.  The mushy peas (also served in a soup spoon) went largely untouched, due to the worst combination of no taste up front and a weird aftertaste.

I should have listened to others on this one.  The whole bill came to around £90 including 1 glass of wine, 1 beer and service (luckily I had a voucher or else I’d be hopping mad). I’d say it would be a good atmosphere to go have drinks at, but really, no amount of nice decor would make it worth it.

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