Farringdon & Clerkenwell

The fact that Farringdon and Clerkenwell – technically two separate areas but we like ’em as a pair – are famous for Smithfield Market, Fabric nightclub and Clerkenwell Design Week just proves how diverse these neighbourhoods are. Where there’s a transport hub, like Farringdon station, there are often a lot of places to have a drink and that’s certainly true here with many pubs like the Holy Tavern and the Exmouth Arms calling the area home.

Farringdon and Clerkenwell have also evolved into some of the best foodie hotspots in the whole of London. There’s a regular street food market on Leather Lane and Exmouth Market is a strip of excellent cafes and restaurants, boasting the likes of Caravan, Pizza Pilgrims, Grind, Berber & Q, Moro and Morito within yards of each other. Some of the city’s most iconic restaurants, like Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s St. JOHN and the Quality Chop House, which has been around for over 150 years, are also residents alongside cult spots like Luca and Sushi Tetsu, which has the dual honour of being the best place to get sushi and also the hardest restaurant to get into in London. Yep, you certainly won’t be going hungry in this part of town.


44 Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ

Set in a Grade II-listed building (and nestled next to some of the oldest residential buildings in London), Cloth is all about seasonal food and an approachable list of excellent, affordable wines. The wine bar and restaurant is the result of a collaboration between two wine importers, Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth, and a chef, Tom Hurst (whose impressive CV includes Brawn, The Marksman, Levan, Salon, Larry’s and, most recently, Lasdun). Expect seasonal dishes that celebrate the best of British produce, as well as a great value set menu on offer at lunch, priced at £25 for two courses and £29 for three. As for the wine, half of the list comprises bottles from Joe and Ben’s own import and supply businesses – including grower champagnes, new-wave Bordeaux and German wines. The other half is made up of wines from suppliers who champion small, independent, and sustainable producers (such as Emile Wines, The Winery, Fingal Rock, Carte Blanche, Winemakers Club and Raeburn). Plus, there are always by-the-glass options and £5 corkage on Mondays. Cheers to that.


Quality Wines, Farringdon Road, London

Quality Wines, the offshoot wine bar from Quality Chop House, has a rotating selection of wines by the glass and bottles on the shelves available for drinking in. There’s also a full small plates menu, devised by former sous chef Nick Bramham so you can make a proper evening of it. The dishes will be changing regularly but you can expect the likes of violet artichoke with tropea onion, burrata and mint; torched sardines with pine nuts, raisins and fennel; pig fat cannoli with whipped ricotta and pistachios; and seasonal sorbet with frozen vodka. Even if you’re only popping in for a quick glass of vino, it’d be rude not to have at least one little plate…

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66 Cowcross Street, London

In Bouchon Racine in Farringdon, Henry Harris has created a gem of a place, along with co-owner and GM Dave Strauss. The menu is loosely based on Henry’s legendary Knightsbridge restaurant, Racine, which closed back in 2014 and that basically means classic, rich French dishes delivered with absolute aplomb. There’s a big chalkboard menu includes the likes of egg mayonnaise and salty Cantabrian anchovies; fatty middle white pork belly rillons served on a bed of simple salad with vinaigrette; roast rabbit dish with mustard sauce and bacon; confit lamb with wild mushrooms on a bed of mogette beans; and some big sharing steaks and chops if you’re feeling hungry. Do not miss out on the excellent chips and the insanely-good creamed spinach spiked with foie gras either. And for dessert, there’s a must-order creme caramel that’s out of this world.


1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA

Caravan really knows what it’s doing when it comes to all-day dining. The globally-inspired small plates menu features a mash-up of Asian, European and Middle Eastern flavours. That means you can tuck into everything from stilton & peanut wontons to broken lamb meatballs to sourdough pizzas, and that’s before you get onto their bangin’ brunches – hello baked eggs, hello jalapeno cornbread, hello pork belly on kimchi pancakes. Caravan also takes their coffee very seriously, so not only can you buy it freshly poured but you can order a whole range of blends and kit to improve your own coffee game.


63 Bartholomew Cl, London EC1A 7BG

Restaurant St Barts is the new restaurant from the team behind Nest in Hackney and Fenn in Fulham. From a slightly ramshackle room on a busy main road in Hackney to St Barts, a beautiful modern dining room in a quiet, pretty square opposite St Bartholomew’s church, this latest venture is a huge jump and a marker of how far they’ve come. The food here is excellent and we’ll be surprised if anything comes along that feels more assured and exciting than this. As with their other restaurants, St Barts follows a set, tasting menu format – although the days of the incredible value £28 menu at Nest are long gone. At St Barts, the 15-course menu is £120 at dinner, and boy is it worth it. When you first arrive you’ll be sat in the cosy bar area at the front of the restaurant and from here you can have a cocktail or glass of fizz while the first round of snacks arrives, including offal kebab, cod fritters, and goats cheese & onion tart, and then it’s onto a proper table in the dining room for the second half of the meal. It’s one of the openings of the year for sure.


42 Maiden Lane, London

Grind will have you hitting up the coffee-come-cocktail bar for more than just drinks thanks to their modern British dinner menu, with small plates like salt cod brandade with garlic crostini, smashed sweet potato, spiced nuts and yoghurt, and hot apple crumble sundae. As usual, Grind has all your coffee and cocktail needs taken care of, the signature Grind Espresso Martini is a real winner…it’d be rude not to have at least one.

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Fare Bar + Canteen, Old Street, London

Any new project from Michael Sager is bound to be a success and with his latest opening, Fare Bar + Canteen, he’s got another hit on his hands. Offering more than your straight up wine bar, there’s also a takeaway coffee area, strong cocktail list and separate restaurant as well as the 250-strong Sager + Wilde curated wine list sourced directly from boutique winemakers across the world. In the kitchen is Thomas Raymond, who used to work at Ellory, cooking a menu of small plates, grilled skewers and larger sharing dishes. We loved the ​Cylindra Beetroot; Fried Globe Artichoke; and Fare’s Wet Burger – Red devon beef patty, sweet paprika and sour cucumber. All in all, Fare Bar + Canteen is a great addition to London’s wine bar scene.


Formerly known as Fix, you can still get your fix without the fuss at FWD:Coffee. Serving up their own blends of Climpson & Sons, and lots of pastries and treats, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon pick me up, and they also have a pretty bangin’ playlist.


You’ve got a lot of choices when it comes to pubs in Clerkenwell and Farringdon, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less interested when a new one opens. Well, to be exact, The White Bear *re*opened recently, welcoming locals into the lovingly restored 18th-century space once again. Just up the road from Smithfield Market (soon-to-be the Museum of London), The White Bear feels just as historic as its surrounding area, but its food and drink offering is relatively contemporary. Alongside a classic selection of beers on tap, cocktails (including the much-buzzed-about negroni sbagliato) and wines there’s a food menu of small bites & charcuterie, Neapolitan street food and homemade sourdough pizza – the starter for which was supplied by their neighbour St John, in a very neighbourly way.


136 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JE

We’ll take a slice of Pizza Pilgrims N’Duja pizza any day, you can’t really go wrong. It’s basically heaven. Once just a pizza van and now a little cult, Pizza Pilgrims has got some loyal followers and their quick expansion has been impressive, damn good reason for that too. Their Neopolitan pizzas are pure satisfaction with simple generous toppings and soft doughy crusts. And anywhere that does a Nutella dough ring for dessert is alright by us.


88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, London EC1R 3EA

Clerkenwell’s Quality Chop House turned 150 in 2019. Despite some brief closures, there’s been a restaurant on the same site since 1869; back then it was a ‘progressive working-class caterer’ and now it’s one of the most beloved restaurants in town. Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau have been running it since 2012 (they’re also behind Portland, Clipstone and Emilia), with Shaun Searley heading up the kitchen. Aside from the amazing interiors, complete with rickety old church pews, the food here always hits the mark. It’s classic British cooking with dishes like duck liver parfait with truffle and beef fat brioche; peas and jellied eel with a herb salad; Highland beef with ramson sauce; those famous confit potatoes; and broccoli with dripping breadcrumbs. And for dessert, don’t forget THAT treacle tart. A true London classic.


82 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DB

Breddos slings some of the best tacos in London – tuck into classics like masa fried chicken, baja fish and braised beef shin & short rib, with plenty of Breddos’ salsas on the side. If you’re feeling hungry, there are mains like carne asada served with tortillas, Mexican green rice and black beans, and plenty of tequila and mezcal to wash it all down with.


30 St Cross Street, London, EC1N 8UH

Located on St Cross Street, a quiet road in Farringdon and like many great restaurants, Anglo looks fairly unassuming but lets the food do the talking. Likely to blow your mind dishes to include red mullet tartare with dashi, a burnt leek tartlet, cod with smoked potato & sea fennel, Swaledale lamb with lettuce & spruce and lemon curd with fennel. We’re pretty big fans of Anglo.


Founded by Jeremy Leslie as a blog about editorial design in 2006, magCulture opened as a shop in Clerkenwell in 2015 (just half a mile away from the presses that produced The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1731, which was the first time a publication used the word magazine), stocking over 600 titles from around the world. Great care is taken in the presentation of all these titles – the shop is a celebration of design after all, so it’s only right that all the amazing design created by the publishers gets a chance to shine. As well as stocking all the mags you could possibly want, the shop hosts regular events so it’s a real haven for indie publishing.


Finding somewhere to exercise your body is easy is in this town, but somewhere for your mind, well that’s a little harder. Enter Nimaya MindStation, London’s first dedicated gym for the mind. The studio in Farringdon offers a range of therapies, from acupuncture and reiki to PandoraStar light therapy, Shamanic healing and floatation tanks, all designed to help you relax and re-balance. You can also book consultations with experts in nutrition, mindfulness and clinical psychology. Whether you suffer from stress, anxiety and insomnia or you just want to avoid burning out, there’s something for you here.


If you’re looking for a spot to buy a nice bottle of wine before heading to a pal’s for dinner, or just fancy a couple of post-work glasses and some charcuterie, 56 West Smithfield is one to have on your radar. The family-run wine bar was founded by the same family behind boutique vineyard Château De La Cômbe in the South of France, so they know their way around a grape. As a result, 56WS stocks a carefully curated range of rare and award-winning wines to either drink in for a £5 corkage fee, paired with some nibbles, or take away. Keep an eye out for their wine tasting events to learn a bit more about the people behind the bottles, or book their tasting room for your own private event.


There are two things Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings is best known for; the beaut garden-themed interiors and the bottomless brunch, which features classic dishes like pancakes with bacon & maple syrup, eggs bennies and fry-ups with unlimited bellinis and Bloody Marys. The space also hosts seasonal suppers with farm-to-table menus using ingredients from the best independent producers.


Yes it might sound like a local boozer but The Lion & The Fox is a creative hair salon that’s a cut above the rest. Founded by hair stylist Tim Pateman and photographer Leo Cackett, this industrial space features a cut and colouring floor, alongside an art and photography gallery. And whilst treating yourself to a new do, you can sip on Square Mile Coffee or even a glass of vino selected by Ruth Spivey. Trust us, you’ll want to make the most of every minute of your cut and colour appointment here.


12 Jerusalem Passage, London EC1V 4JP

Sushi Tetsu is a seven seat sushi bar and it’s the hardest restaurant to get into in London. With only two sittings a night, plus the fact that you have to ring at certain times on particular days to book, it’s very difficult to actually bag a reservation. Run by husband and wife Toru and Harumi Takahashi, it’s known for serving the best sushi in town though so it’s worth the hassle. Go for the omakase menu and just sit back and enjoy as Toru prepares and serves whatever is best that day.


Chef Yuma Hashemi, who’s worked everywhere from Berlin to San Francisco, settled in Clerkenwell with his restaurant Tehran-Berlin. It’s a beautiful cosy room with big tables and an open kitchen that make you feel as if you’re in someone’s house. Tehran-Berlin used to have an international flavour, with a mix of French, Persian and Vietnamese flavours across the menu and a Persian feast running on Sundays. The restaurant has now gone Persian full time so you can try Yuma’s take on the Iranian appetiser noon-panir-sabzi, small plates like smoked aubergine with tahini and cucumber & rose, and tahdig with roast chicken and lamb stew. Wine is a big part of the dining experience here – they run a blind wine pairing option where you only get told about the wines after you’ve had them. Not only does it add a bit of fun into the evening, it removes your preconceptions and lets you focus on the flavours rather than thinking about what variety of grape is in the glass.


This listed 19th century pub is just over the road from Exmouth Market, making it the perfect spot for some post-food bevs. You can always eat here though as the place is open for brunch, lunch and dinner with a menu offering pimped up pub grub, like cider battered sole fillet with triple-cooked dripping chips, pease pudding & gherkin ketchup and short rib & flank burger topped with burnt onions and bone marrow crumb.


Looking for a new craft beer boozer to crack into? Introducing London legend The Exmouth Arms. This Victorian pub with its green-tiled exterior and stained-glass windows always pulls in the Clerkenwell crowds. It’s got an impressive selection of around 100 bottled craft beers and ciders (we won’t mention them all but do yourself a favour and order the Garage Soup IPA), as well as signature draughts including Camden Town Ink Stout and Kona Big Wave Golden Ale. It meets the needs of mainstream beer lovers and newbies to the scene alike. They also offer a small but does-the-job menu to line your stomach for a serious sesh.


When a 13-bedroom Georgian townhouse hotel meets an award-winning cocktail lounge, magic happens. And that magic is known as The Zetter Townhouse. It’s luxurious, quirky and very, very British (think red, white and blue everything) with big comfy beds, Egyptian cotton linen and REN products in each room. Their cocktail lounge is pretty spesh too, paying homage to the neighbourhood’s distilling heritage with old cocktail classics as well as homemade cordials and infusions.


You only need to travel a couple of minutes from Farringdon tube station to get a real taste of Spain at Iberica, where you’re greeted by a 15-metre long bar and a dining room decked out with Spanish tiles, dark wood and oversized hanging lamps. When it comes to the menu it’s Spanish classics all the way. The cured meats are a favourite – wafer thin slices of air cured Cecina beef, wild boar chorizo and the trio of jamones – as are the croquetas (made following chef Nacho’s family recipe), and you’ll want to leave room for the Spanish sweet stuff at the end. With wines from all over the country alongside sherries and vermouths you can drink your way around Spain here too.


Sister to the main Berber & Q Grill House in Haggerston, this sexy Shawarma Bar serves up mezze and cocktails inspired by the streets of Tel Aviv. It’s all about slow-cooking and spit-roasting here with dishes like cauliflower shawarma, rotisserie chicken with dukkah and lamb shawarma with tahini & harissa on the menu. Don’t skip the fried potatoes with whipped feta and the Turkish coffee ice-cream, chocolate sauce & tahini crumb either.


The Coach, in one guise or another, has been in Clerkenwell since 1790 and it still has that traditional pub feel. In the pub half there are classic bar snacks on offer alongside ales and lagers from breweries like Portobello Brewery, Thornbridge and Stiegl. There’s a dining space overlooking the garden at the back as well as a dining room on the first floor, both of which serve British-French inspired dishes like smoked salmon with horseradish & soda bread, onglet & chips, sea bream a la provencale, and spiced apple crumble. The Coach has classy pub dining pretty much nailed and in the summer when that garden door is open right into the garden, there’s be not many better places to be in Clerkenwell.


Moro, run by couple Sam and Sam Clark who set it up after a stint travelling around Spain, Morocco and the Sahara, opened on Exmouth Market in 1997 and has remained popular ever since – practically a lifetime in London restaurant terms. Drawing influence from the pair’s love of Moorish food, the menu (which changes seasonally) features dishes like lamb tagine with preserved lemon, charcoal grilled seabass with ajo blanco and yoghurt cake with pistachios. They’ve also got tapas bar Morito right next door, which is a more casual offering than the main restaurant.


Luca, from the team behind The Clove Club, serves modern Italian food using British ingredients, so there are traditional-with-a-twist pasta dishes like agnolotti cacio e pepe with short rib and spaghettini with Morecambe Bay shrimps & mace butter alongside plates like Orkney scallops with jerusalem artichoke & nduja, Cornish halibut with porcini & pancetta, and salt-baked celeriac with chanterelles. Whether you for a plate of pasta or the whole antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci route, don’t under any circumstances skip the parmesan fries. The bar at Luca is a separate and distinct space and people are encouraged to drop in and have a drink and snack, so you can still get a flavour of the place if you’re short on time.


Founded by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver in 1994, St. JOHN is a London restaurant institution. Pioneers of the nose-to-tail eating movement and simple but gutsy British food, the restaurant has influenced countless chefs and restaurants for over two decades and itself has expanded into a mini empire with a second restaurant, bakery and winery. The Smithfield restaurant, housed in a former smokehouse, has held a Michelin star since 2009, serves up a daily changing menu of dishes like roast bone marrow & parsley salad, devilled kidneys on toast, brill with sea purslane & capers, Eccles cake & Lancashire cheese, and fresh madeleines hot from the oven and a French wine list, including bottles from their own winery.


34-35 Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX

This light and airy pub has a decent amount of tables and TV’s scattered around (great for watching the footy), with a strong range of craft beer behind the bar. What sets it apart from other watering holes in the area is the intimate venue downstairs, which regularly hosts comedy and live music, and the sound is bloody good down there too.


195 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL

Morito is the little sister to Moro, the Exmouth Market restaurant run by Sam and Sam Clark. The original is a tiny place that’s right next door to Moro, with a second and bigger site opening on Hackney Road in 2016. Although not solely Spanish (the menu draws influence from the Eastern Med and North Africa as well as Spain), the menus feature tapas classics like tortilla & aioli, jamon iberico, padron peppers and grilled chorizo alongside dishes like arroz negro with cuttlefish, roast pork belly with quince, and Malaga raisin ice cream, plus a strong Spainish wine list with sherries and vermouths.


What was the Jerusalem Tavern, with St Peter’s Brewery beers on the bar, is now the Holy Tavern, and whilst the name and ownership may have changed, the atmosphere hasn’t. It’s still one to fight for space inside but it remains a beauty with rooms dating back to the 18th century, and they now do some nights with candelight only, so there’s plenty of old pub charm.