This February, Townsend, a new restaurant and café from director Nick Gilkinson, previously of Anglo and the Garden Café in Lambeth, will open its doors at Whitechapel Gallery, London E1.
Gilkinson (pictured right) has recruited the talents of Joe Fox (left), ex-Head Chef of Petersham Nurseries to create a modern British dining room with an evolving menu of creatively constructed seasonal dishes, as well as freshly baked bread and pastries, and wines by the glass.
Townsend is named after Charles Harrison Townsend, the architect of the grade II-listed gallery. During the day, the main dining room fills with natural light, which pours in from wall to wall windows. In the evening, glass pendant lights glow overhead, reflected in the mirrors which line the walls. The space also includes an intimate wood-panelled private dining room, lined with rare art books and posters.
C.H. Townsend was known for combining classical British themes with his own fiercely original style, and this has inspired the philosophy of Fox’s menu. For dinner, guests can begin with Mayan gold potato, with egg yolk, Berkswell and winter truffle, or fragrant Curried veal sweetbread, with cauliflower, sprout tops and burnt onion, a nod to the food culture of its East London neighbourhood.
Main courses include smoky Grilled salsify, with red cabbage, Jerusalem artichoke and collard greens, and Roast haunch of venison for two to share, with ruby beetroots, wild cabbage, ale-braised onions, sour cream and horseradish. To finish, there is a choice of Ginger and treacle pudding with clotted cream ice cream; Yorkshire Rhubarb, pear sorbet and marjoram; or seasonally selected cheeses from Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Wines are curated by Townsend’s director, Nick, chosen for their accessibility and value, with a concise list focusing on old world vineyards and a mix of natural and traditional methods.
Gilkinson said, “We are excited and honoured to be opening Townsend at Whitechapel Gallery, and have created a restaurant which we think matches its cultural context; a dining destination for visitors to the gallery and a neighbourhood staple for those who live and work locally.”
Fox added, “Our menu will emphasise seasonality and quality ingredients, using the best of British produce as a guide to every dish. Whitechapel Gallery has been a catalyst for so much of London’s modern art and design, and we hope Townsend will fly the flag for the city’s food scene within this space.”