We are young and ambitious, have worked in some of the best kitchens in the world, and now we want to do things our way.
~ from the Young Turks website
Who are the Young Turks? Put simply: a ‘collective’ of a few young chefs, currently cooking dinner in the upstairs room of the Ten Bells pub near Spitalfields Market.
Latest news is that this pop-up (yes, let’s all have a collective ‘urgh’ at the word) has now been extended to the end of April, thus making it worth a write-up.
Firstly, the menu (which changes weekly), starting with:
Goose, Oat Cracker & Chutney
These were served as sharing plates for the table, along with some brown fluffy sourdough bread, which they buy in from a bakery outside London, apparently. All good; the crab rather addictive.
Pig’s Head, Turnip & Apple
Kale, Arborath Smokie & Herring Roe
Pheasant, Parsley Root, Onion & Chestnuts
Marmalade, Brioche & Clementine
Then the individual plating started. Again, all good. Pheasant portion (two breasts) was much larger than any of the preceding courses, which threw us (in a good way). Dessert was rather sublime.
Ambiance: like any good pop-up, the specialness of the Ten Bells lies in the atmosphere and location. You enter through an umarked door at the back of the pub, up creaky stairs, into a high-ceiling room filled with mis-matched pub tables. Lights are low, the walls are peeling with old paint. Sure, the glare from the renovated Spitalfields Market shines through the window, but in this room you could be anywhere, any decade. The place buzzes with the sound of Londoners having a jolly good time.
Would I go back? Maybe. If it was cheaper, certainly. But at £39 for dinner, without service and wine, it feels like you’re paying a hefty price for the atmosphere (and perhaps a lack of economies of scale), rather than the food.
If you regularly spend £50 on dinner, or love supperclubs, then paying a trip to the Ten Bells is a no-brainer. Go, go soon, and book even sooner.
But if £39 is a major splash-out, I’d suggest going somewhere where your cash will stretch further. After all, with the right group of friends, a rollicking good time will be had, no matter where you go.
Young Turks @ The Ten Bells
First Floor, 84 Commercial Street
London E1 6LY