Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Luxe London Spitalfields Market review - more onion fritters please


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Address: 48 Frith Street, London W1D 4SF
Tel: 020 7494 4511
Nearest Tube station:
Shoreditch High Street / Liverpool Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £15pp
Service charge: 10%
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: ***
You never run out of lunch places at Liverpool Street Station if you work around the area. The entire area from the train station itself to Spitafields Market following onto Brick Lane caters just for the avalanche of hungry souls that just pours in during lunch hour. It’s never ending, it seems that the surrounding office buildings are capable of just spewing out people. It’s almost as terrifying as Canary Wharf.

That is of course great news to the restaurants and eateries in Spitafields. Well positioned to catch the crowd, almost the entire floor space is taken up by shops in the business of feeding people. On one end of the spectrum, you have chain restaurants the likes of Canteen, Carluccio and S&M, on the other, you have Market Coffee House, St John’s Bread and Wine and Bishopgate Kitchen.

I was literally spoilt for choice and resorted to Twitter for recommendation. Wandering Foody quickly came back and suggested Rosa's and Olivia soon after with Lahore's (though I'm not sure whether that's near Spitalfields Market). Fancying some lighter fare (curry is best left for dinner when you can afford to doze off soon after), Rosa’s Thai fare sounded like a better bet.

So there we were cutting across Spitalfields Market on our way to Rosa when we were waylaid by The Luxe. “Have you tried that before?” I asked Wife. I marched into the restaurant before she could respond. Rosa would have to wait another day, I was simply famished and could do with some comfort food.

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The Luxe’s menu revealed the usual suspects. An all day brunch menu with a couple of mains. Desperate for some carbo, I went for the salt beef and pickle bagel (£7.50). I could never figure out how people can eat a bagel (or a burger for that matter) with knives and forks. I wasn’t about to grab the bagel with both my hands to maintain some semblance of civility. Instead, I began sawing through the bagel grudgingly. To give The Luxe some credit, its bagel was quite a spread – other than generous slices of salt beef, the pickles, tomato slices and greens made it quite a spread. Note, the bagel doesn't come with chips, the one in the photo above was a seperate order.

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Wife’s fish fingers sandwich (£5.50) didn’t do too badly either. It came with coarse tartar, lettuce and tomato slices. The ensemble was much more satisfying than the one served at S&M just across the road. Yes, it cost more but we really couldn’t see ourselves going to S&M for its sandwich again.

What won the day was the onion fritters that accompanied both the bagel and sandwich. Deep fried thinly sliced barely battered onion strips – it was absolutely marvelous. Later, I spied that the server dished the pre-fried onion strips out from a large bowl onto each dish. I was just about to stop myself to ask for more.

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With its large windows facing Commercial Road, The Luxe is perfect for watching the world go by during lunch at Spitalfields Market. If weather permits, there’s even a small outdoor area round the back. Fear not, as the entire area is covered, you could lunch there come rain or shine – so long that you are warmly dressed. Fancy takeaway? There’s even a counter just for that.

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