The Frog E1 is the debut solo restaurant by Adam Handling, offering fine dining fare in a relaxed space in the heart of Spitalfields, East London.
Adam Handling, previously Head Chef at Caxton Grill in Mayfair, is best known for becoming a finalist on BBC’s MasterChef The Professionals in 2013. His distinctive cooking style features a combination of technical savvy with the best possible produce, and a theatrical touch.
The Frog is situated on Ely’s Yard, at the back of Brick Lane, and is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Friday with a daily-changing tasting menu. I visited the restaurant in November with my friend Federica, who was already familiar with Adam’s signature dishes. You can read Federica’s review of our lunch on her blog Pasta Bites.
The dining room has a distinctive industrial chic style with metal and wooden tables on plain flooring; green plants are hanging from the ceiling; art from local young artists is showcased on the white walls.
The kitchen area is in full sight, only partially separated from the dining room by a small kitchen counter on which the Frog’s green logo is graffitied.
The outdoor patio is a cozy and warm space which reminded me of a mountain lodge terrace.
The Frog is essentially a fine dining restaurant with a young and edgy look to fit in London’s coolest neighbourhoods. The mix of styles clashes a bit, in my opinion, and it’s distracting from the food experience.
There shouldn’t be any distraction from the food at The Frog E1, because the food is excellent. A 3-course set menu is available at lunchtime for just £35 per person (the price includes a glass of house wine or beer). The menu includes some of Adam’s greatest hits from his a la carte menu as well as daily seasonal options.
Since Federica and I ordered different things, I was able to taste six dishes in total. Each one of them was very good; some were exquisite.
We started our lunch with Salmon, peas, sweet & sour wasabi and Celeriac, truffle, dates, lime. The first was a beautiful and delicious dish, served cold with sweet apple and a subtle wasabi flavour.
The celeriac starter was fantastic and cleverly paired with dates and shaved truffle, although it didn’t look as pretty as the salmon. Using a blue plate didn’t do it any favour, as the food blended with the background.
For the main course, I ordered one of Adam’s signature dishes: Mac and cheese – the Frog way. It’s a classic comfort dish made even more indulgent with a large amount of truffle scattered on top. It tasted amazing, but it was too rich for me and I couldn’t finish it.
Federica ordered a seasonal dish of Lamb, crispy potatoes, sour cream, garlic which was really good, probably my favourite dish of the menu.
We finished our lunch with two wonderful desserts. The Yuzu, white chocolate, raspberry, peanut delivered a perfect balance of sweet and zesty, smooth and crunchy.
I couldn’t resist the Chocolate ‘tiramisu’ with Lazzaroni amaretto, kahlua and coffee. It’s not at all a tiramisu though. It’s a rich and decadent chocolate mousse, infused with amaretto and kahlua liqueurs, with coffee and nitro cream.
I was very impressed by all the food at The Frog and I would love to try Adam Handling’s dishes again in the future. The 3-course set menu is a great way to experience fine-dining at an affordable price.
Disclaimer: I was a guest at The Frog. All opinions are my own.