The welcome: Clerkenwell houses more creative (read advertising) businesses than anywhere else in the world, so its the yuppies galore who spill out and into the restaurants of London’s design quarter, and this Terence Conran-owned and designed space is their perfect playground.
The room: With so much to see and do – including a pie room, wine and craft beer shop, charcuterie and cheese counter and posh 'grocery' shop – it’s hard to tear oneself away and sit down at a table in the restaurant.
Designed and owned by Terence Conran, what describes itself as a 'no-nonsence' 'neighbourhood cafe', is in fact housed in the architecturally stunning building on the site of the old Turnmills nightclub.
The open plan space is painstakingly worked out, transforming seamlessly – or wall-lessly – between specialised areas, from shopping to eating, breakfast to dinner, and wining to dining.
Every object is chosen with such care, right down to the satisfyingly weighty knives and forks, and much of the furniture sourced from nearby showrooms. In fact, the only criticism would be that it feels a little like a showroom: good design should be given the opportunity to slip into our lives and augment our experience, but Albion’s furniture is paraded in a conspicuous pageant of design. However, if a design showroom sounds like your idea of a good time, then this is no criticism at all.
The food: This is British food in the finer sense. Diners can choose seasonal food from one of the many counters around the space to eat at their table, including oysters, pies, charcuterie, and cakes, as well as from the restaurant-only menu, which in late summer includes kedgeree, a variety of sumptuous steaks and some delicate fish dishes of bream, trout and bass. There are three different types of Bloody Mary, including one made without a trace of tomato, and a trip to the wine shop reveals 100 French wines to peruse.
We left with not only our bellies filled, but also our arms with goodies to guzzle at home.
Would we go again? Yes, but not with, say, my nan, who might feel out of place among the yuppies.
|Albion Clerkenwell restaurant review
|Albion Clerkenwell, Unit 1, The Turnmill, 63 Clerkenwell Road , Clerkenwell, EC1M 5NP | MAP
01 Aug 16 – 31 Jul 19, 8am - 11pm Monday-Thursday, 8am - midnight Friday, 9am - midnight Saturday, 10am - 7pm Sunday
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