• Modern British• Whitechapel
Townsend is the resident restaurant at the historic Whitechapel Gallery, a museum that opened to the public in 1901 and was an early proponent of public-funded exhibitions. The recently opened restaurant comes from chefs Nick Gilkinson and Joe Fox, who count Petersham Nurseries, HIX, the Garden Café and Anglo among their collective experience.
The dining room makes for both a breezy pit stop for museum visitors and a destination in its own right, letting in plenty of light while still feeling luxurious enough for a long dinner and a few glasses of wine.
The food is modern British with a few outside influences, changing with the seasons and designed to showcase the best possible ingredients from around the British Isles. Mayan gold potatoes topped with egg yolk and black truffle have become a favourite, while an incredibly reasonable lunch menu – which also includes bacon scones with smoked eel and cream cheese – tops out at just £20 for three courses. It makes a perfect diversion between exhibitions.
If anybody asks you what the point of a restaurant like Townsend is right now, tell them it is this: to make things just that little bit better.
This is not my first visit but I don’t resist ordering bacon scones with goats curd and chives again. Who could?
The food that’s coming out of the kitchen is all thoroughly British, with the likes of rich bacon scones with goats curd & chives; and some ridiculously smooth fried Wensleydale draped with heather honey and smoked chilli acting as the smaller-size dishes.