Jul 08, 2011 12:00AM

The Corner Room

A new restaurant in a historic hotel.

Bank balance permitting, the next time I travel to Europe I'm not slumming it in backpackers' hostels. Is it really too much to want a shower with hot water and a bed sans bugs? In the grand European tour of my dreams, I'd fly to Paris, check in to Margiela's new digs, then hit London and stay at the Town Hall Hotel. The Town Hall Hotel has stood in the heart of London's East End since Edwardian times and boasts amazing interiors. As well as an impressive collection of retro furniture and contemporary Scandinavian hand-crafted pieces, its expansive halls, marble staircases and beautifully modeled art-deco rooms have featured in movies like Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Atonement.

The Town Hall Hotel also boasts two dining options, both under the direction of award-winning chef Nuno Mendes. The latest, The Corner Room, is deliberately inconspicuous. There's no website, no phone line and you can't make bookings. It's a small space (it fits only 30 people) and is tucked away in a quiet corner on the first floor of the hotel. To find it you'll pass a retro staircase and a moose head sticking out of a Persian carpet. The decor of the restaurant space is just as inspired - dark wooden floors, a twisted staircase leading to nowhere and an installation of suspended lights. Then there's the menu - quirky bistro-inspired food made from fresh, seasonable ingredients. How good does Mendes' specialty "rhubarb crumble with lavender ice cream" sound? That's exactly what we would want to down after a long flight (business class, of course).