Wander about and lose yourself: up grand marble staircases and down dark American walnut panelled corridors. Poke your nose into council chambers (now used for private dining) and whatever else, don’t miss Corner Room, up on the first floor.
The main feature here is an entire wall of vintage industrial lighting: some twenty large pendant and factory lights hang at varying heights against a white tiled wall, while from the centre of the room hang three enormous lights from accordion-style brackets made to resemble a sort of gritty urban chandelier.
The 30-cover room is a small corner room but appears larger than it is thanks to the enormous bevelled mirror above the mantelpiece.
Under the executive eye of lee Westcott, John Christie has just taken over as head chef and produces intensely-flavoured, foraged-style dishes. Slow cooked oxtail, onions and juniper smoked marrow (£13.50) was deliciously unctuous, while poached cod with Jerusalem artichoke and chanterelles (£14.40) was light and flakey.
A coffee and blood orange cake (£7) really was bitter sweet while the accompanying cep ice cream tasted of woodland mushrooms. A brave combination which worked, sort of.
Go in the evening when it’s all lit up for a magical effect. Give yourself extra time to go and explore the building first as there’s lots going on.
Start your evening at ground floor bar Peg and Patriot with one of mixologist Matt Whiley’s home distilled specials, such as the bitter-orange flavoured Vesgroni (£9.50) or a deliciously aromatic but alcohol-free gin and tonic (£5.50).
Corner Room is open 7 days a week.
Lunch 12.00-16.00 and dinner 18.00-22.30.
Two courses: £19; three courses £23. A la carte and 5 course tasting menus also available.
Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, E2. 020 7871 0461 (www.townhallhotel.com)