Tabernacle in Shoreditch has been around for a while, in some form or another. Part bar, part swanky restaurant, part hard club. It has always been ok, perhaps a bit overpriced and rigid, but ok. Now it has had a makeover and something rather special is emerging from the ashes.
Still a bar, restaurant and club, it now has a more relaxed feel. The décor is modern, but understated, lots of wood, and warm lighting. The bar is open and airy and even on a busy Thursday night isn’t rammed full of suits yelling and quaffing overpriced wine.
The restaurant which is small, but neat and smart, is also quiet, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The menu is Italian – which is kind of strange as it doesn’t exactly go with the décor, and I wouldn’t have called it an Italian restaurant myself – but it had a good range of sensibly priced options.
Homemade bread and olives to start with are excellent, and free flowing. My Culatello ham and mozzarella starter is good, if not a little ordinary. The other half has mozzarella and grilled vegetables which are great, succulent and rich with some interesting flavours.
For mains I have chicken, with lentils, porcini and truffle mash. The chicken and lentils are nice, but it’s the truffle mash that makes it for me – the highlight of the meal in fact. Perfectly cooked mash, with the unmistakeable pungent truffle tang: rich and delicious.
The other half has middle white pork – whatever that is – which isn’t so good; a huge plate of food full mainly of fatty pork and bitter caponata. Portions in fact are overly generous and not in a good way; just too much crammed onto the plate as if quantity is definitely beating quality. Pricing is fairly sensible with starters around £7 and mains from £16.
The wine selection is good – varied options by the glass and a comprehensive but not unnecessarily long wine list.
After dinner we venture downstairs for a sneak peek at the new club, Cube. Here they’ve really made a difference for the better. The club has adopted a relaxed approach, with no entry fee or excessive queuing, it looks good, but isn’t trying too hard to be cool. A great space with a very very sexy underlit dance floor which responds to the music beat, changes patterns and colours continuously and can even spell out words; great for a corporate party. And it is the corporate world that will really enjoys this place – chic and good looking, with a group-friendly menu, safe but nice food, a great bar and a fantastic nightclub.
All in all I like Tabernacle. I like the relaxed feel it has adopted, the ease of moving from bar to restaurant to club without time limits, entry fees and dress codes. The staff are friendly and polite, but not affected. The food is fine, and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. A great place for an office party – it’s nearly fully booked for Christmas – but also a good place for any day of the week if you want to enjoy some food, some drinks and some dancing, all under one roof.
55-61 Tabernacle Street
Shoreditch EC2A 4AA
Tel: 020 7253 5555