nest shoreditch
Image: Francis Payne

Nest, Shoreditch: Thoughtful tasting menus from a restaurant at the top of its game

06 Oct 2023 | Updated on: 10 Oct 2023 |By Annie Lewis

Top-notch tasting menus focusing on seasonality at an affordable price point are hard to come by in the city. But we’re willing to let you in on a secret…

‘Sustainability’ and ‘affordability’ are such buzzwords in London’s food community that it’s sometimes hard to tell fact from fiction. Seasonal menus have become commonplace, while low-waste concepts have rightfully gained popularity. This isn’t to say that the above is bad in any way. In fact, it’s brilliant that the capital is home to so many forward-thinking, eco-conscious restaurants – but it pays to put your money where your mouth is, and some are more genuine than others. 

However, if you asked us to put good money on a restaurant promising authenticity alongside a sustainable, approachably priced tasting menu, we’d point you in the direction of 374 Old Street. Here, you’d find the newly-launched Nest in Shoreditch. Having moved from its Hackney address just a few weeks ago – where it first opened in 2018 – the new Nest now occupies a double-fronted, open kitchened, paisley-tiled, olive-green Victorian space opposite the five-star Courthouse Hotel. 

The restaurant was founded by trio Luke Wasserman, Toby Neill and chef Johnnie Crowe – who remain at the helm – and while it has matured, its popular food concept has remained: simple but effective tasting menus focusing on hyper-seasonal vegetables, ethically-caught seafood and only one hero meat each season, enabling the team to work with some of the rarest breeds and top conservationists in the country. This farm-to-plate ethos makes the most of small-scale farmers and independent producers, such as Keltic Seafare, Flying Fish, Alternative Meats, and Shrub Provisions, all of which work to keep things neatly full circle. 

When I enter on a Thursday evening, the restaurant is filled with the low buzz of happy chatter, candle-lit (fully booked) tables and helpful waiting staff floating between the bar and open kitchen. Tonight, the bill of fare is game (makes sense given we’re slap bang in the middle of the season), promising nine courses of delightful morsels of partridge, grouse, mannard and more for an extremely reasonable £65. And boy, do you get bang for your buck. 

Before we tuck in, it would be remiss not to mention Nest’s other new wing: the wine cellar. While the restaurant’s bar, which sits directly in front of diners, serves a selection of low-intervention, orange and award-winning wines, including wine pairings for each menu (more on that later), the move has created space for the addition of Nest Cellar. This walk-in, intimate bar boasts an exciting selection of wines, cocktails and beers, sourced from a range of innovative breweries across the country, as well as the UK’s top natural cider and perry from Tom Oliver and Little Pamona. Homemade snacks, including spiced nuts and seasonal terrines, make it worth a return visit.

But on to the main event. There’s nothing I love more than a tasting menu that starts with ‘snacks’ – unnecessary, given the amount of food ahead of you, but delicious all the same. Served on tree trunk trays, start with the game liver parfait bomb, shaped like a small savoury macaron, and the game bird terrine with pickled walnut. A unique element, which I loved, was the grouse tea poured from a quintessentially-British glass teapot. Smoky but rich on the nose, and salty on the palate. Genius. 

Move on to the homemade soda bread and cultured butter. Cultured it certainly is. While the team baste the game birds in the kitchen, excess juices are collected and stored to be whipped into this rich butter. It’s thoughtful cooking like this which has earned Nest its reputation. 

Chef Johnnie Crowe – formerly of The Harwood Arms and acclaimed Anglo, who gained a well-deserved Michelin star earlier this year for this work at Restaurant St Barts in Farringdon (one of three in the Nest restaurant group) – enjoys incorporating a seafood dish into every tasting menu, which on our visit came in the form of melt-in-the-mouth chalk stream trout. Served in a bowl of elderflower, parsley, butter and roe sauce, the fish is cooked with a dash of the wine perfectly paired with this course: Heinrich Naked White, a blend of chardonnay, weissburgunder and welschriesling aged in eastern Burgenland. 

Each seasonal tasting menu at Nest is paired with a one-region wine list highlighting lesser known vineyards for £55. To go with the game, Nest’s sommelier had chosen Austrian vintages tried and tested by Wasserman. A highlight is the aforementioned Heinrich, as well as Kekfrankos Balf Franz Weninger, a biodynamic ruby-red wine sourced from different vineyards between 19 and 47 years old near the Austrian town of Balf. 

Meatier courses arrive at the table in the form of mixed game bird faggot – comprising partridge, mannard and grouse – alongside the star of the show: a whole-smoked grouse in juniper, served with potato cakes, radicchio, and a touch of raspberry-infused jus. Cheese-lovers will adore the creamy Ashcombe variety alongside homemade oatcakes, while those with a sweet tooth can indulge in both a homemade Bakewell tart with meadowsweet ice cream, and a softly-fried raspberry doughnut. 

Nest has always let its food be the star of the show – and so it should when it’s this good. Don’t expect fuss or frills, but perfected, elevated and thoughtful cooking from a team who know exactly what they’re doing. Five years into the game (ahem) and the shiny new address proves Nest is only just getting started. We’re sure it’ll settle into its Shoreditch home in no time… 

374-378 Old Street, EC1V 9LT, visit

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