Archive for the Clerkenwell Category

London – Clerkenwell – Eating and Drinking

Posted in Clerkenwell, England, London, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2019 by gannet39

There are some excellent pubs and restaurants in Clerkenwell. As ever, they’re all on my map.

Sushi Tetsu (Advanced A), 12 Jerusalem Passage,

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,

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,

This is the tapas bar associated with the famous Moro 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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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.


London – Clerkenwell – Walking Around

Posted in Clerkenwell, England, London, United Kingdom with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2019 by gannet39

Clerkenwell is steeped in history and culture which makes it one of my favourite London neighbourhoods. Happily I’ve managed to see a fair bit of it thanks to my friend Tom who lives in the area and has shown me around.

There are heaps of good places to eat and drink as well which I have put in the next post. My Google map with everything on is here.

Clerkenwell has a long tradition of left wing politics, starting in the middle ages. Clerkenwell Green was the scene of some of the events of the Peasants’ revolt in 1381. It was were the London Corresponding Society demonstrated against the Napoleonic Wars and in 1887 it saw a huge demonstration demanding freedom for Ireland.

In the early twentieth century it was where the Communist Party used to meet and the Marx Memorial Library is located here. The library has tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Marx, Lenin and Stalin all lived in the area at various times. Their local was the Old Red Lion at 418 St John St which is one of London’s oldest boozers. Over its 600 year history, many other notable people, including Dickens and Stalin, have taken refreshment here. The Second Congress of the Communist League was held in an upstairs room and the meeting requested that Marx and Engels who were attending the meeting should write the League’s programme; the Communist Manifesto.

In 1890 Clerkenwell Green was the scene of the very first May day rally. In 1919 the rally called for British troops to be withdrawn from trying to bring down the Russian Bolshevik government and in 1969 it demanded equal pay for the women of Ford’s Dagenham plant. It’s hard to think of any place that has a longer or more illustrious history of struggle.

The ancient military order of the Knights of Saint John, also known as the Knights Hospitaller, has a long association with the area which is why they appear in many local names. You can still see St John’s Gate which was built in 1504 as the south entrance to their priory.

Now a volunteer ambulance charity, they were originally formed to protect sick pilgrims in Jerusalem during the crusades. They have a museum next to the gate at 26 St John’s Lane

The famous Smithfields Meat Market is just at the bottom of the road.

In the 19th century the area around Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road, and Rosebery Avenue was known as Little Italy due to high levels of immigration from that country. A couple of businesses and an annual festival are all that remains of that legacy, as well as the community’s church, St Peter’s Church on Clerkenwell Road.

Elsewhere, Charles Rowan House is a landmark housing estate built in the Expressionist style. It was built in the 1920s as married quarters for Metropolitan policemen (Rowan was one of the first Commissioners of the force when it was formed in the 1820s) but became a Council estate in 1974 and is now a Grade II building.

Many other historic and beautiful buildings grace the area, I’ll try and expand on this post when I have time to write about them. If you’re on a PC, click on the photos to enlarge them.

Eating and drinking in Clerkenwell next!

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