Establishment neighborhood
Pizza Pilgrims
15 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell
Like all good things in London, this burgeoning chainlet is growing fast. Once a beloved food truck with a cleverly built-in pizza oven, it now has not one but two (as of last week) bricks-and-mortar outposts. The thin-crust pizza at all their charmingly lo-fi locations is superb, as are the negronis and affogato. At the new spot off Carnaby, we’re looking forward to fried pizza courtesy of their first authentic Neapolitan fryer—the guys spent a couple of weeks in Naples recently to learn the art of frying pretty much everything. There's also a location in Soho.
Clerkenwell London (Closed)
155 Farringdon Rd., Clerkenwell
This concept store/restaurant/martini bar/wine cave/piano lounge/women's store/men's shop/gallery is pretty jaw-dropping: It does so many things—all in one location—and so well. This shop is a world unto itself, mixing design objects, antiques, fashion magazines, and home accessories high and low in a sprawling space in its namesake neighborhood. You might find a nostalgic and scrappy old pencil case appealingly arranged next to an antique brass protractor, right next to a Palomino pencil. There are also ceramics, glassware, throws, and pillows—all at a surprisingly affordable range of prices (you get the sense that everything here is priced for exactly what its worth and no more). The clothing array revolves around mostly British heritage brands like Olivia Von Halle, Zoe Jordan, J.Lindenberg, Troubador, and more. They're basically out to outfit all the hardcore design types who live in the neighborhood, of which there are many.
155 Bar & Kitchen (Closed)
155 Farringdon Rd., Clerkenwell
The labyrinthine 155 has a lot going for it. First there's the space itself, which is split into several distinct, thoughtfully and meticulously decorated sections: a dining room, wine cave, piano bar, and martini bar. Then, there's the food, shepherded by Fifteen vet, Gavin Gordon, who has designed a seasonal, British menu that's heavy on the meat and fish, served up in a contemporary, visually arresting way. What's most impressive, though, may just be the restaurant's sheer versatility and the span of its opening hours: You could pop in here for an early breakfast just as easily as you could hit the Martini bar late night. It's the work of the Clerkenwell London collective whose design and clothing concept store is part of the complex on 155 Farringdon Road.
31 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell
Flowers in antique glass jars, succulents large and small, steampunk kids clothes, pressed flowers, it all may sound a little Etsy-esque, and well, it is, but it's so well achieved and so aesthetically pleasing that it's hard not to fall for. Botanique, both a florist and a shop for artisan wares, opened up its sprawling, wood-lined space on Exmouth Market in October and already promises to be a fixture on the local craft scene with a series of seasonal workshops for those interested in picking up a few skills.
Modern Pantry
47-48 St. John's Sq., Clerkenwell
While the word fusion might not have the best connotations these days (conjuring up visions of poor attempts at mixing cuisines back in the '90s) at Modern Pantry the Kiwi chef Anna Hansen is doing a lot to change that. She liberally mixes modern British touches with Indian and her native antipodean ingredients to create a lovely, seasonal all-day menu and a phenomenal brunch, that includes coconut and cassava waffles and a Persian chicken burger that's not to be missed. A meal at either of her restaurants—the second Modern Pantry just opened on Finsbury Square, where the décor is much splashier—is a delight, and for special occasions you can take over the private dining room in either location, both decked out in wooden tables covered in white tablecloths in Hansen’s trademark, simple style.