There are some excellent pubs and restaurants in Clerkenwell. As ever, they’re all on my map.
Sushi Tetsu (Advanced A), 12 Jerusalem Passage, sushitetsu.co.uk.
This sushi-ya is a bit hard to find (it’s down a side alley off Clerkenwell Road) and nearly impossible to get into (there’s only seven seats and it’s booked out weeks in advance).
You definitely need to reserve to get in but you can only do it by phone (+44 20 3217 0090) and you can only call on the first and third of the month, between the hours of 11am and 4pm. Good luck!
It took a few weeks and a fair bit of planning for Tom and Karen and I to get in but we made it eventually, and it was totally worth the effort. We received a friendly welcome from the chef’s wife Harumi who seated us with the other customers at the bar. This meant we could easily chat with the chef Tetsu (aka Toru Takahashi) and enjoy watching his knife skills.
I didn’t grade any of the food as I was too busy chatting and having fun but the experience as a whole scored top marks. We started with a classic; Buri Daikon (stewed giant radish and yellowtail amberjack).
Next the Omakase (chef’s sushi selection).
After this we ordered several à la carte Nigiri. These are I think seared tuna, salmon, yellowtail and squid nigiris.
Also a tuna Temaki (hand held roll).
Can’t remember what this fish was, but again super fresh flavours and immaculate presentation.
All washed down with a few flasks of Atsukan (hot sake).
St John Restaurant (High Intermediate A), 26 St John St, www.stjohnrestaurant.com
This is my favourite restaurant for eating offal as it famously specialises in ‘nose to tail eating’. I recommend the bone marrow on toast.
Morito (Intermediate A), 32 Exmouth Market, www.morito.co.uk
This is the tapas bar associated with the famous Moro moro.co.uk next door. The proprietors, Samantha and Sam Clark, are renowned for their renditions of Spanish, North African and Eastern Mediterranean dishes. I’ve never been able to afford the restaurant but I love the more economical tapas bar.
The most famous dish is the Borani; an Iranian dish made with beetroot, feta and walnuts, which has been replicated in small plates restaurants all over the country.
I enjoyed their Negroni, made with Spanish Lacuesta vermouth, as well (B) although perhaps I love the label more than the vermouth.
Granger & Co (Intermediate B), 50 Sekforde St, www.grangerandco.com
Bill Granger is a famous chef from Sydney so when my friend Tom told me he had a place here I wanted to compare it to Caravan, another antipodean chain that does a good breakfast. I had the poached eggs with avocado, and kimchee which was fine (B).
However, the reason I go back though is for their Spiced Bloody Mary (£10) with vodka, Clamato (clam and tomato juice), gochugang, lime and coriander . Although it might more correctly be called a Bloody Caesar, it’s now one of my favourite hangover drinks (A).
Iberica (Intermediate B), 89 Turnmill St, www.ibericarestaurants.com
This is one of a small chain of new breed tapas restaurants where you can try classic as well as more playful examples of Spanish food. The Chorizo Lollipops dipped in Pear Allioli were fun and we enjoyed the Croquetas and the Arroz Negro as well.
Caravan (Intermediate B), Exmouth Market, www.caravanrestaurants.co.uk
This is a top spot for an Antipodean breakfast. I enjoyed the meatballs once for lunch as well.
Terroni (Intermediate B+), 138-140 Clerkenwell Rd, www.terroni.co.uk
Terroni’s is a historic Italian café that has lingered on after the original Italian community has moved away.
They have a great range of artisinal Italian hams and cheeses, amongst many other wares.
I had three small Cannolis (Cannolini) here which were pretty good (B).
The Jerusalem Tavern (Intermediate B+), 55 Britton St, www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk
This is the local pub of Fergus Henderson, the proprietor of St John restaurant above, who was in residence when we visited. He comes for a good reason as it has heaps of atmosphere and a good choice of quality craft ales.
The Crown Tavern (Intermediate B), 43 Clerkenwell Green, www.thecrowntavernec1.co.uk
As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of London’s most historical pubs and doubles as a small theatre used for experimental productions. Lenin used to drink at the Crown and Anchor as it was known then. Engels, Marx, Dickens and many others have all supped a pint here.
See my previous post for walking around Clerkenwell.