Every good crime film has a car park scene. Usually in these, under fluorescent lighting, men in leather gloves exchange a suitcase containing sensitive collateral. There may be a disagreement or an unwanted interruption to the transaction, followed by an outbreak of gunfire and if you’re lucky, perhaps a lengthy car chase. Car parks are dramatic places on TV. In reality though, they’re shit. Scraped alloys, lost tickets, and hours of wasted time wandering around on the wrong floor waving your key above your head like you’ve given up everything and are now set on professional lassoing. Car parks are no fun.
Unless, that is, you turn a car park into a restaurant, which is just what they've done here. The Frog is in Ely’s Yard just off Brick Lane, and once you locate the entrance (on the terrace facing away from Hanbury Street), you’ll find the restaurant’s great outdoor space, complete with wicker awnings and swinging love chairs. Inside it’s bright and open with a pretty lively but casual vibe. There’s a bit of a Wilderness Festival, Alice in Wonderland kind of vibe to the whole thing.
This carries over into their food as well: several of dishes look as if they were made by Peter Rabbit if Peter Rabbit were fully dextrous. You’ll find edible flowers and micro herbs and shavings and dustings. And there are more foams and gels on show here than Ronaldo’s wash bag.
But importantly, it’s not all show: The Frog is a brilliant restaurant. You’ll eat traditional British ingredients cooked very well, presented beautifully, and with some really interesting takes on classic combinations. Their duck is juicy and the chicory it’s served with has a really great citrusy kick that balances the richness of the meat perfectly. They sell their lighter than light creamy chicken butter in jars, and you’ll want at least one as a going-home-present.
The Frog suits a dinner for a special occasion just as much as it does a quick midweek lunch. The menu is full of surprises and deliciousness, and despite all the micro herbs, it’s actually not taking itself too seriously. Additionally, prices are fair, and you can get rowdy on the terrace too if that’s what you’re after.
It might not be as exciting as Bond’s BMW chase, or the Batmobile ploughing through cement, but oh Ms. Moneypenny is The Frog worth the trip.
This looks adorable and is a pretty fresh starter. Not a must-order but certainly enjoyable.
Everything and more you’d ever want in a tuna tartare. It looks like a Japanese garden, and although we cannot confirm what a Japanese garden actually tastes like, if it tastes anything like this, there’ll be some very worried Japanese gardeners out there.
You won’t believe this isn’t meat. It’s fresh, hearty, and should certainly be on your table.
This is a lovely dish if a little small. The duck is cooked perfectly with a crispy skin and rich meaty flavour. The chicory and pear lighten and brighten everything up. A solid plate of food.