Bright, airy and modern – with exposed architectural features, white walls and an industrial open kitchen softened by wooden floors, culinary-themed line drawings and a woodburner – the Clerkenwell Kitchen attracts a mainly young crowd, reassured by right-on sourcing. It’s a sizeable space, well able to cope with the lunchtime rush (the takeaway menu is popular too), and the courtyard terrace is an enticing corner on warm days.
Clues about the style of cuisine come not just from the posters but the shelf of well-thumbed cookery books from Europe and California, with Chez Panisse and Zuni Café providing clear inspiration. Choices are few and daily-changing, while the chalkboard menu and standard sauce bottles signal a back to basics approach, but the cooking is nonetheless precise: a chard frittata featured a crisp contrast of finely shaved, vibrantly dressed fennel. The minimalism sometimes goes awry: wild salmon gravadlax came without sauce, nor dressing on the watercress or butter for the rye bread – one of these, at least, would have been welcome.
An indulgent summer berry ‘crisp’ with its pot of rich cream set the world to rights, however. Drinks, too, are few but well chosen and carefully served.