Brummell recommends: Crispin

Crispin is a slice of fresh thinking and superlative cooking in a lovely corner of Spitalfields

Food and Drink 3 Jul 2019

Crispin's interestingly angular pavilion
Cod with bagna càuda
Heritage tomatoes in tomato broth
Baked kohlrabi comes with a mirin-cured egg yolk
The interior of Crispin

The background

Crispin lies in a sunny gap in the back streets that connect Spitalfields and Liverpool Street and is housed in a beautifully designed pavilion. The restaurant is the result of a collaboration between Scotchtails, the famed Borough Market scotch egg company, and Lundenwic, the beloved Holborn coffee shop. Crispin opened at the end of 2018 and its suntrap of a terrace is just coming into its own as the weather improves.

The space

The impressively angular pavilion seats roughly 40 people around the open kitchen and bar on minimalist tables, while the terrace accommodates another 30. Beautiful abstract illustrated posters adorn the walls announcing events at the restaurant, along with an abundance of plant life. It’s something that makes Crispin feel designed around locals and regulars, like it has been a key part of Spitalfields for much longer than eight months. It’s a welcoming and relaxed space, making it a great spot for brunch and drinks as well as dinner.

The menu

Crispin has an ever-changing menu of seasonal small plates that are perfect for sharing. Dishes are beautifully presented, always original, interesting and full of flavour. Heritage tomatoes are served in a tomato broth with salty but balanced whipped cod’s roe, olives and crunchy croutons. A delicious dish of baked kohlrabi comes with a mirin-cured egg yolk, brown butter, capers and dill. Perfectly grilled cod comes in a bagna càuda, a sauce from Piedmont made from anchovies and garlic, with cockles and fennel. Beef short rib comes with red peppers and black garlic. For dessert, strawberry with tarragon and mascarpone is a refreshing and light summery treat, or try moreish chocolate with peanut and yoghurt.

The dishes are described in simple terms but are complex and original in cooking, make up and flavour. The fantastic menu option usually on offer, ‘one of everything’, is definitely recommended and is made for two people sharing, or the ‘chef’s selection’, a slightly edited version, that gives diners the chance to taste a wide selection of what’s on offer.

The menu features a small section of well-thought-out cocktails, including the Picon biere sunrise, a refreshing combination of tequila and Picon with orange juice. The wine list has been put together in collaboration with Otros Vinos and is full of interesting low-intervention bottles, including a good selection of Austrian varietals.

The bill

The ‘One of everything’ menu is £29 per person for around six dishes to share. Bottles of wine start at £24 and cocktails are £7.50-£9.

In summary

A casual spot with serious cooking and dedication to the finest ingredients and standards, Crispin is a passion project that will keep diners coming back time and time again. Grab a seat on the sunny terrace as soon as you can.

Crispin, Pavilion on The Corner, White’s Row, E1 7NF,