Opened in 2014 in a bright, stripped back dining room in Shoreditch’s Tea Building, Lyle's has gained a reputation for being one of the most progressive and interesting restaurants in the capital.
Run by chef-patron James Lowe, who spent four years as head chef at British food institution St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields, the restaurant bears some of the hallmarks of his former stomping ground as well as many touches that are very personal to him and his cooking approach. At Lyle’s, the focus is very much on British cooking with dishes that are simple yet skillful, often using ingredients you’re unlikely to find in many other dining rooms.
The menu changes daily as dictated by the seasons and what Lowe can get his hands on, either from suppliers or what his kitchen team can forage locally, with the lunch menu typically featuring about 14 à la carte starters and mains at lunchtime and five desserts. At dinner there is a change of pace, with a seven-course set menu on offer.
What makes Lyle’s standout is Lowe’s dedication to his craft. There’s an underlying geekiness to his approach that sees him go above and beyond what is typically required of a chef, fastidiously sourcing underused and heritage ingredients and cooking in a style that puts flavour before presentation (not that his dishes look anything other than perfect).
The restaurant also takes game very seriously, with an annual, international chef event that celebrates British game season held every September.