Where shall we eat in Limehouse?

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The Independent Culture
Limehouse in east London may not be one of the capital's top destinations, but it boasts a colourful history and some luminous residents, past and present: including Francis Bacon, Sir David Lean, Steven Berkoff and Sir Ian McKellen.

The disused wharf buildings here in Narrow Street have been transformed into a riverside des-res. But what's lacking is places to meet.

Which is why I was pleased to see the grottiest of its three pubs recently made-over into a smart Mediterranean-style restaurant and bar called The House. The menu boasts an appetising if unchallenging selection, including grilled sea bass, seared salmon, and venison among its main dishes, and there is an extensive, well-chosen wine list.

My lunch companion Vivian and I went along on Sunday, when the menu is restricted to either a traditional roast or a choice of brunch dishes at a set price of pounds 7.50.

We ordered two brunch dishes - one full English breakfast and one eggs Benedict - which we waited 40 minutes for. However, preceded by an impressive Bloody Mary, the full English was spot on: a doorstep of crisp, hot toast with two perfectly frizzled eggs, grilled fresh tomatoes, chargrilled bacon, a herby Lincolnshire sausage, black pudding, and juicy field mushrooms.

The eggs Benedict, by contrast, bore little resemblance to anything good I've seen offered under that name, and we stalled at the sight of its rock-hard yolks. We sent it back and asked for a Caesar salad instead. Apologies were offered, and neither eggs nor salad were added to the bill.

The puddings we tried were excellent- a spiced poached pear with vanilla ice cream; and a deliciously crisp and fruity apple strudel.

I would advise giving The House a few weeks to put itself in order before you make a trip down here; but the locals seem already to have welcomed its cheerful presence.

27 Ropemakers Fields, Narrow Street, London E14 (0171-538 3818).

DOWNRIVER

The Grapes

76 Narrow Street E14 (0171-987 4396) Excellent 15th-century riverside pub with fish restaurant on first floor

The Five Bells and Bladebone 27 Three Colts Street, E14 (0171-537 1601) Newly-converted pub for trendy dockland types

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