While Clerkenwell isn’t short of bars, it’s also got some fab places to spend a leisurely lunch or for a quick foodie pit stop. Healthy and homemade is the norm here, with exceptional places for Spanish and Italian sharing plates.
La Kitchenis the ideal Vietnamese spot for lunch. Healthy delicious bowls of bun cha, pho and banh mi – it serves up the classics with style and fresh flavours and there’s super speedy service so you can be in and out in your lunch hour.
Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, British, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
If only a pub lunch will do make it a super tasty one from Foxlow. This proper local boozer goes to great lengths to make sure it’s food comes from amazing British farms, with fried chicken, steaks and burgers all on the menu. We won’t tell anyone if you follow it up with a cocktail or two.
Whether you’ve only got time for a quick snack or you’re in the market for a delicious three-course meal, the Modern Pantry is hard to beat in Clerkenwell. Light and airy, there’s a cafe and proper lunchtime dining room where chefs do wondrous things with seasonal veg and sustainable produce.
Moro is the sister restaurant to award-winning Morito on Hackney Road but this little space in Exmouth Market is a real treat in itself. Spanish cuisine takes on a modern twist in this tiny restaurant, try and get there early to secure a table so you can wolf down Charcoal grilled quail with pistachio sauce and orange salad or Wood roasted skrei cod with bay, lemon zest and shallot rice.
Also in Exmouth Market is an outpost of trendy brunch setters Caravan. During the week it serves up gorgeous veggie friendly small plates such as Spiced cauliflower, pomegranate yoghurt, harissa and nigella seeds. Pull up a pew, order a freshly roasted coffee from their own roastery and enjoy your lunch hour.
During the week, hidden away Bench attracts Clerkenwell’s creative types with its daily changing lunch menu that always includes a hotpot, quiche, soup and various other hot and cold sandwiches. Everything’s homemade and their sausage rolls are things to die for.
If you’re after something a little more special, let us introduce you to Luca. This modern Italian is from the same people behind Michelin-starred The Clove Club so you can expect great things. All the produce is British but it’s cooked Italian style. Wash the delicate small plates down with a Campari soda and don’t go back to work.
This bustling hipster NYC style diner is at the heart of the Hoxton in Holborn, a creative and freelancer’s paradise. Get a table in the white washed brick cafe and order up burgers, pasta and salads and sit back and people watch.
La Gourmandina is tucked away on Lamb’s Conduit Street and is an artisan Italian deli come restaurant space. Pop in for gourmet meats and cheese platters to share or go heavier with risotto, pasta and pork belly. It’s a cute little shop with more character than most of the places in Holborn.
Possibly the most in demand wine bar in London Noble Rot specialises in unusual wines and has its own magazine of the same name. Pop by at lunchtime, and make sure it’s a long lunch, for a small British seasonal menu, and plenty of lots of wine pairings. Be prepared to dig deep into your pockets but it’s worth doing once a year or so.