Foxlow Clerkenwell

Restaurants Farringdon
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(20 user reviews)
95 Love It
Save it
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
1/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
2/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
3/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
4/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
5/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
6/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
7/8
© James Bedford
Foxlow (© James Bedford)
8/8
© James Bedford

In a cosily masculine room, magically transformed by the duo behind Hawksmoor, a compact menu offers food that will comfort and soothe (and fantastic service).

It takes special magic to lift a curse. One held over a restaurant site, doubly so. The previous time we dined at this address, the (Nordic) cooking was excellent, but the atmosphere dreary. The building was – and has always been – a doomed sow’s ear of a site, a corridor-with-annexes. It would, we thought, take a sorcerer of Potter-like talents to turn it into a silk purse.

But Hawksmoor founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott have reversed the hex. Having sold a majority steak (sorry, stake) in their four-strong restaurant chain, they’ve opted not to go shopping for a a superyacht or the penthouses at One Hyde Park, but to create this new enterprise. Removing internal walls with ‘DIY SOS’-like enthusiasm, they then gave it a cosily masculine (though not blokey) vibe: all warm woods, low lighting and comfy retro-themed furniture. Finally, in went a small cocktail bar and a deliciously posh salad bar (it’s not self-service, more’s the pity, but they’ll let you hover and gawp).

The cooking, on the whole, is terrific. There’s a daily specials board of impeccably-sourced steaks – but unlike Hawksmoor, Foxlow is not a steakhouse. Instead, a compact menu offers food that will comfort and soothe: the sort that you want to eat after a break-up, or after watching too many episodes of ‘Homeland’. A dish of ‘smokehouse rillettes’ saw a smoky mound of beef, turkey, pork and pig fat (lardo) knocked into shape by a tart jumble of cucumber, pickles and capers. A slab of bacon, around eight rashers thick, had been basted in maple and chilli and roasted for eight hours. As if the sweet, smoky, spicy meat with its strata of juicy fat wasn’t succulent enough, it came with a dinky jug of fiery, sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. From the salad bar, our two-cabbage slaw sported whole fennel seeds and a delicate vinaigrette. An individual sour cherry pie had a soft, almost cakey pastry lid, and a side of soft, sweet ice cream.

There were blemishes: the bacon salt added to our fries made them taste like novelty popcorn. Sauces cost extra, yet the thoughtful wine list is fairly priced (from £16).

But what makes Foxlow special is the service. On our visit, not only did the youthful staff know their menu better than their phone numbers, but they threw in bags of personality, beaming smiles and a nothing-too-much-trouble attitude. They could have made a cheese toastie in a grubby caff seem like fun. Alakazam! At 69-73 St John Street, the evil enchantment has been broken.

NOTE: Since this review was published, Foxlow has modified its opening hours to serve brunch at the weekends. They will be serving brunch from Saturday December 6.

 

Venue name: Foxlow Clerkenwell
Contact:
Address: 69-73 St John Street
London
EC1M 4AN
Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 5.30-10.30pm; Sat 11am-3.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm; Sun 11am-5.30pm
Transport: Tube: Farringdon
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £90.
Do you own this business?

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|20
1 person listening
0.770008136465

I had a very different experience to the last reviewer. 


The food and service was great. The place appears rather understated but the food is great. We all had steaks and they were cooked to perfection. Would definitely recommend this place.

Andy V

Foxlow is okay. The food is good, when the Chef bothers to understand the true meaning of "medium" cooked steak as they tend to over cook it there. The service staff are nice but dim and slow. Otherwise the spare ribs are to die for. I'd certainly go again.

Alex PD
tastemaker

This is a great little restaurant - the staff are great, the whole place is light and airy, and the food is delicious. Go on a weekend where you can get unlimited bloody Mary's to wash down your dinner (i went for friend chicken on a waffle and I'm still thinking about it three months on).

Chlo Fo
Tastemaker

What's better when you're hungover than steak (especially when it's on your boss), and blooming good steak at that. Don't know your deckle from your t-bone? Don't worry, the staff are super friendly and patient at explaining the ins and outs of the different cuts for annoying people like me who ask far too many questions. The food is really scrumptious, sadly there was no fillet on offer when I visited and so I had a rub fillet, which was a tad chewy, but full of flavour. The atmosphere is cracking, chic yet laid back, it's the perfect spot to impress in a cool kind of way.

rpate
Tastemaker

I booked the Foxlow’s Clerkenwell site for a Sunday afternoon Valentine’s Day brunch with my boyfriend. After a notable meal there last May, I had the same high expectations for this more casual visit. The Foxlow’s brunch menu delivers a selection that diverts from the customary full English: think trendy Moroccan baked eggs with green harissa, avocado and feta smashed on toast and their signature croissant waffle- served with fried chicken and eggs- instead. The prices are also reasonable, with most plates under a tenner. 


The Foxlow is a spin-off concept from the team at the much-lauded Hawksmoor, providing a more relaxed neighbourhood bistro setting focused on serving great, locally-sourced produce. There are now three locations around London, but the flagship and central site remains consistently busy. Even on a Sunday, when Clerkenwell can resemble a ghost town, the restaurant was packed and lively. We were escorted through the main open floor space to a more contained section adjacent to the wine bar. A catchy mix of classic rock and 80s anthems wafted through the air and the servers were chirpy and unperturbed, creating a relaxed mood ideal for languid Sunday dining.


While the Foxlow excels with its warm ambiance and affable staff, we were stunned at the disorganisation that was so strongly apparent that afternoon. Diners were left waiting to order and were unable to command the attention of the sole, overstretched server in our area. Food was sluggish to appear- to the extent where two tables around us were offered complimentary drinks and starters and one couple opted to leave before their food arrived. We received a profuse apology for the delay with our meal and couldn’t find our server when we tried to order an additional side of toast.


I had the baked Moroccan eggs, served on a stewed tomato and chickpea base, drizzled with spicy green harissa and finished off with a dollop of yogurt. I also ordered a side of Sobrassada toast. The baked eggs came in a decent sized portion, but I found the two small slices of toast frugal. The tomato base was full-bodied and flavoursome, but arrived searing hot; my eggs were overcooked, rubbery and dried out, lacking the gooey yolks that I anticipated. The sauce was tasty, however, and carried a nice punch of harissa, but I didn’t send the dish back because of the prolonged wait. I ate around the eggs, but found even the toast was rock hard. I would have preferred a warm, pillowy flatbread to scoop up the juices and yogurt.


My boyfriend was lured away from the brunch fare. Instead, he opted for a basket of fried chicken, which came with fiery habanero vinegar. He was much happier with his choice, which arrived as a generous bundle of wings and thighs that were amply seasoned and coated in a golden crispy shell. Evenly fried and appealing to the eye- with no resemblance to the sickly and greasy chicken of the local chicken shop- the meat inside was moist and elevated by the spicy and sharp notes of the vinegar.


This visit to the Foxlow was unfortunately inconsistent with our past experience, but I hope that it was a matter of catching them on an off day. While the lengthy wait for food was admittedly a huge disappointment, the atmosphere and staff are pleasant and I’m not writing them off just yet.

Alex Plim
moderatorStaff Writer

I've never felt as outrageously full after a meal as I did when I ate at Foxslow. But that just shows how difficult it is to stop eating here, and how deliciously rich their dishes are.


The place is run by the same people who do Hawksmoor, so you can expect good meat and snazzy surroundings. In fact, I'd say Foxlow is one of the nicest restaurant interiors in London.


As for the food – well, it's completely outstanding. The ribs are glossy and tender, the sides are all sensational and the desserts are simply impossible to resist. By the time I'd finished, I had to undo my belt to make room. The bill won't be cheap, but it'll certainly be worth it.

Sarah G
Tastemaker

Having been before I was really looking forward to this trip. I had particularly geared myself up for the delicious coleslaw &fried pbj dessert! I was gutted to hear they were both no longer on the menu.

We were here on a pre theatre trip.

I ordered the slow cooked short rib. My mouth was watering as I started to tuck in but I was surprised to find it was really tough. When I questioned they offered a replacement & then said actually 'it's off' there's something wrong with the water bath!

I ended up not having a main but indulging in an extra appetiser (amazing squid) & all the sides we'd got - delicious poblano Mac n cheese, greens, little gems & beetroot,

The whole thing could have left me feeling miserable & annoyed but the friendly, efficient, genuinely apologetic & caring service meant I actually had a great time & would return!

Nigel C

Good food and relaxed atmosphere. I'd still opt for Hawksmoor when it comes to a steak but the chicken sandwich here is fantastic. 

MandyGo
Tastemaker

We dined at Foxlow and had a very lovely evening for a birthday. Upon mentioning the celebrations to our waitress, they made sure they had a candle in their pud!


There’s a fine line between having a friendly waitress or having someone that would rather be at home getting their Downtown fix. And you’d be pleased to know that we didn’t have the latter. Quite opposite actually, we had a very attentive young lady who I’m pretty sure was just waiting for us to tell her to pull up a chair and join the celebrations with us!


The steak was top notch, shame the cocktails didn’t hit the same mark.


Easily fixed though, just send Tom Cruise in for a master class and they’ll be ticking all the right boxes.

Paul C
Staff Writer

Went to Foxlow on Friday night as a birthday treat and it was fantastic. The steak was perfectly cooked and the addition of the bone marrow was delightful. The staff were very helpful when telling us which was the best sauce to order as an accompaniment.

ELI
Staff Writer

This place always has a real buzz about it. Great cocktails and a good wine list too.

stephen j

I've been here three times for lunch now and each and every time the food has been delicious, the place is buzzing and the staff are fantastic. The staff have always been attentive, fun and down to earth and knowledgeable about the food and the drinks. Special mention goes out to the Elvis Presley sandwich for dessert.

Jenny

Came here for Valentine's day and had the perfect evening. The food was delicious, the staff were very knowledgeable and friendly. The waiter recommended us a delicious wine and made many recommendations on our orders but then left us alone to enjoy our evening. Even though it was a busy night, we didn't feel rushed at all and actually ended up staying there for 3 hours chatting over our bottle of wine. Definitely worth the money for a special occasion.

Mike

Spent a wonderful evening here and I thoroughly recommend. Had the squid starter, lovely bottle of Burgundy, Beef Rib with Kimchi, monkfish and salad bar selection. Staff were all excellent hosts and the atmosphere was perfect mix of formal and chilled out... Try the smoked paprika bloody mary...

Stefan Cook

A wonderful evening, great staff, great food: recommend the crab to start and the steaks were easily on par with Hawksmoor. Salad bar is a good addition with lots of interesting combinations. Foxlow is a more chilled out, more reasonable version of Hawksmoor.

Cassius

Great food about 5 mins walk from Farringdon station. Really chilled and friendly staff and great food. Try the devilled crab or the short-ribs - spot on.