No matter whether you’re looking for trendy British cuisineor something a little more casual, Holborn and Clerkenwell both sport a number of restaurants that will impress everyone, from parents to first dates.
Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, British, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Clerkenwell definitely has become a bit of a hub for seriously seasonal British restaurants. Foxlow is one such place, and is a meat eater’s paradise. You’ve got grass fed British flat iron steaks, free-range fried chicken, short rib Wednesdays, and on Mondays you can take your own beer in. Now that’s our kind of place.
Dans Le Noir might seem a little gimmicky — it’s a restaurant where you sit completely in the dark. Indeed, it’s so dark you can’t see what you’re eating, which is actually the point. The restaurant highlights how our sight and preconceptions change taste and instead asks its diners to rely on taste alone. Fun for a date night or with friends, you can choose a few different surprise menus (which obviously cater to any food allergies or preferences) and as well as the whole dark thing, the food is rather excellent.
You could walk past Bird of Smithfield very easily. It’s an unassuming shop front in a Georgian townhouse, but in the inside are two bars, a private dining room and a glorious, hidden roof terrace with views over Smithfield. The menu changes monthly and features plenty of fish, a British take on seasonal eating, and hearty puddings. One for a long slow evening.
St John has lead the way in whole animal cooking in London and now has outposts that specialise in bread, wine and other deliciousness. This Clerkenwell spot is the original restaurant and is a fine dining spot where it’s fine to get stuck in. Menus are changed daily and focus on British seasonal eating and unusual cuts of meat, such as crispy pig cheek and dandelion.
Polpo sticks to the script and consistently serves up amazing dinners. One of the first successful small-plate restaurants, this outpost of Polpo in Smithfield brings to life its Venetian inspired dishes with aplomb. There are always meatballs, risotto and mini pizzas to share while the seasonal salads are the things to come back for. Bonus: it won’t break the bank.
If you’re looking for a spot to impress the parents, then the grand European café style of The Delauney is a great find. From seriously tiered afternoon teas to pre-theatre meals, the white linen and suited and booted waiting staff can’t fail to impress London visitors.
It might not look like much from the outside but Asadal is authentic Korean food through and through. Way before Korean fried chicken and kimchi took off, Asadel was here. Pop in for traditional bibimbap, Korean hotpots and barbeque action. Don’t miss the crispy pork dumplings.
Brasserie, Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Bar, European, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Holborn Dining Room transports you back to the Art Deco era with its marble and brass gorgeous space. A proper old school brasserie, there are craft pies (the big new trend), lengthy brunch menus, the largest gin bar in London, and red leather booths that just inspire romance. Alternatively, take a high seat at the bar for a pre-theatre menu and relish your London life.