Indefinite Article | Our Type
Goodness. Two far east trips in one season. We’ll be in Ichinomiya by spring at this rate. Nuala was well worth the trip for midweek frolics. Hopes are riding high for Saturday lunch in Typing Room. We’re liking the name already, even minus its definite article, spending half our lives typing up storms. We’re here to snatch the three course (plus snack) set lunch menu. It’s fashionably short: two options per course. Fortunately it caters well for pescatarians:
- Crispy fish skin, smoked cod, oyster and paprika
- Crab, radish, celeriac and rock samphire
- Brill, artichoke, mussels and garlic
- Chocolate, blackberry and beetroot
We’re very partial to Michelin style madness and had been reliably informed to expect multisensory sensations. Cow bells ding-a-ling? No; just lively piped music towards the close of the afternoon. Surely foam at the very least? Our sense of anticipation rises. One of our carnivorous companions chooses the venison. Will it vaporise upon arrival with said guest merely left to inhale the gamey scent as if the doe was gracefully passing by on a moor? Before being shot dead? Not quite: it arrives solidly three dimensional, delicately seared, with the closest nod to starry styling being its geometric presentation (an oblong cut next to a cabbage roll). Belcanto’s fag ash butter pushed boundaries; Typing Room’s marmite butter is easier to love.
The snack is really an oversized amuse bouche, crispy and colourful, balancing on a rolled linen napkin. The crab is pure seefood. See it. Eat it. Delish. The brill is brill (sorry, couldn’t resist). Honestly, it’s as light and wholesome as our writing (we weren’t once described as “architecture’s answer to Hello! magazine” for nothing). Sheep’s yoghurt was but now isn’t on the menu. Pity. We could eat sheep’s yoghurt till the cows come home. But a colourful cacophony (pudding arrives to the beat of that lively music) of sweet meets savoury is worth writing home about. Under the aegis of Jason Atherton – City Social (his goat’s cheese fritters with honeyed white truffle oil are particularly memorable) being one of his many other forays – is Executive Chef Lee Westcott who formerly worked for Tom Aikens.
The restaurant is naturally lit by large sash windows on two sides. A central chimney breast divides it into two spaces. We’re in the larger space, overlooking the kitchen with its eight rolled-sleeve-white-shirted-navy-aproned-mostly-bearded staff. Walls are painted an inky charcoal grey. Seats look Scandinavian and must be comfortable because, afterwards, well, we don’t remember if they were or not, and you always remember uncomfortable chairs, don’t you?
Typing Room is in the same building as the five star Town Hall Hotel (lack of definite article clearly being a theme). It’s a sturdy Portland stone monument to municipality designed by Percy Robinson and Alban Jones in the final year of the Edwardian era. It was added to 30 years later in a similarly robust manner. Rare Architecture completed the recent conversion adding a daring metallic intervention. Or “abstracted veil” in the words of architect Nathalie Rozencwajg. The interiors are furnished to reflect all these eras: neoclassical antiques; vintage mid century pieces; and contemporary sculptures. Eclectic and eccentric: a doll’s house cupboard here; a dentist’s chair there. And – holy cow – a big yellow fish. Taxi!