There’s no doubt that James Cochran is a supremely talented guy. Just take a look at the guys CV – former chef at 2*Michelin The Ledbury, before going it alone at Restaurant Fix, Hackney. Following on from the successful B.Y.O.C pop-up in Soho this summer, B.Y.O.C East will be his permanent home in the city.
This is the kind of food that actually gets us excited about eating out. And that’s no mean feat when you eat out as much as us. We’re even going to go so far as to say no one is really doing anything like it right now.
Sure, the restaurant itself leaves a lot to be desired, but as it’s conveniently located just a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street, we’d urge you to see past that in order to get your chops round the food. It actually shares a lot of similarities to his Hackney menu (you’ll find his legendary doughnuts, reimagined) but somehow manages to feel a bit more grown up.
Keeping true to his roots, all produce is sourced by local English suppliers. The fish is brought fresh from Cornwall, the meat from local farmers in Essex and their vegetables are harvested in Kent.
The menu is split into ‘bar snacks’, small plates and then some slightly larger plates – you’ll want to try everything so go with someone good at sharing. His infamous Jamaican jerk chicken is still on the menu. If you haven’t had it before it may look like a slightly strange addition but it’s the finest damn jerk chicken we’ve EVER had. With a warming scotch bonnet jam, the little crunchy buttermilk chicken nuggets pack a punch without blowing your head off – the balance is spot on. But as we know, James knows what he’s doing. Cornish mussels are paired with charred hipsi cabbage and oats to create a warming, delicious whisky soup of sorts. It took all of our self-control not to raise the bowl to our lips. Roast monkfish was pretty as a picture, cooked to perfection, soft and delicate.
The larger plates allow James to get creative when it comes to presentation. The lamb neck was so pretty we nearly didn’t want to ruin it. But one bite put paid to that. A mixture of lamb neck and haunch, made for a nice contrast in textures, while the smoked crème fraiche made it unforgettable. Roast Guinea fowl is served with little potato gnocchi in the kind of gravy you’d drink by the glass given half a chance.
Of course we were full but those doughnuts were calling. We loved the tart lemon curd against the sugary dough and sweet quince.
The Amarone from Italy is a gorgeous glass of red and servings are large so it’s pretty affordable.
There will be great value lunch deals on offer – we’re looking at you city boys – as well as the option of a la carte or a tasting menu.