The Handbook
The Handbook

Lanes of London on Park Lane is like a new best friend who you feel like you have known for years. Or that is what The Handbook thought when we went down to check it out this week.

Despite it being a new restaurant, it didn’t have any of that shiny- new brightness where the paint looks almost sterile or hospital like; rather it felt homely and at ease with itself. With low lighting, grand ceilings, vintage mirrors, high wing back chairs and an air of a member’s club there is none of the stuffiness, the cocktails were served in a mix of tumblers and tankards and were decorated with red and white striped straws – the sort you are more likely to see in at a street feast or pop up.

Both the menu and the drinks list is split into four areas of London: Portobello Road, Kingsland Road, Brick Lane and Edgeware road – meaning you can sample all their cuisine without leaving Park Lane. We started of course with cocktails – The Portobello Punch being a favourite, a muddle of champagne and apple brandy was rather like an alcoholic apple crumble.

The menu is a mix of small plates and slightly larger sizes – we were recommended to have 6 plates between us and a pudding each – which was plenty – maybe order 1 or 2 dishes more if you are really hungry!

Samosa Chats from Brick Lane were accompanied by chickpeas, yoghurt, pomegranate tamarind and mint chutney suitably spicy although more yoghurt was needed just to take the edge off slightly. Scooting over to Kingsland Road we got stuck into some Vietnamese ‘Bun Thit Nuong’ – to you and me that is barbequed pork skewers with rice noodle salad and sweet chilli sauce. The pork was a little dry and the rice noodles were rather slippery little devils – perhaps too much oil?

Heading over to Edgware Road Kafta Meshwi – minced lamb skewers arrived on top of ‘Babaganoush’ and smoked aubergine – wonderful bites of flavour they were meaty and chunky yet light at the same time. But it was our culinary trip to Portobello Road that really won us over – the scotch eggs – oh the scotch eggs, a herby sausage mix encasing golden egg yolks were real hunks of a scotch eggs.  Then came the beef brisket sliders – topped with a dollop of bone marrow and a spoon of horseradish, and it was absolutely delicious.

The Valrhona chocolate torte had the smoothest texture – yet lacked a real chocolate punch; although the banana and chocolate digestive ice –cream served in a tin was sweet enough for both the puddings. Lanes of London were also able to send the pudding menu (which was written on a postcard) to anyone we wanted – so everyone, keep an eye out I might have chosen you!

Lanes of London might not quite match up – the interior might not reflect the cuisine, the customers might not be the ones usually queuing up on Kingsland Road for street food – but you know what? It’s all part of its charm – and it was very charming.