Ultimate review of lunch options in Clerkenwell & Farringdon
Are you stuck for lunch ideas for work? The BrighterBox HQ has been based in Clerkenwell, just up the road from Farringdon station, since its inception. You might not know it yet, but this area boasts two of the best food markets in London. Walk past Leather Lane food stalls or Exmouth Market cafes any day of the week around lunchtime and you will find yourself engulfed in crowds of hungry workers from the multiple startup offices nearby (easy to spot: not a single suit in sight). If you can battle through the onslaught of salivating CEOs, then you will reach an array of market stalls overflowing with the world’s cuisine.
Feeling Italian? You’re covered; want something filling? Don’t worry about it; need dessert? Just walk down a few paces. We can’t stress it enough – lunch options in Clerkenwell are an endless array of delicious cuisines just waiting to be sampled by you and yours. Luckily, most of the team at BrighterBox have long-eschewed limp tuna sandwiches brought in from home, and dedicated themselves to trying everything on offer in the neighbourhood. We can now present to you our ultimate review of the best places for lunch in Clerkenwell and neighbouring Farringdon (to save you the agonising decision-making process).
KIN – Leather Lane market
This one is Charlie's favourite. Minimal small talk, maximum flavour. Specifically, the generous helpings of Thai green chicken curry that are portioned up and ready to grab-and-go at a moment’s notice. If you are looking for something that warms you all the way down to your toes and wraps you in an aromatic, coconut-hug, then get yourself straight to KIN.
Moro – Exmouth Market
Moro holds a restaurant on Exmouth market, as well as a stall. Both are stellar examples of North African cooking. The stall serves up flatbreads filled with creamy hummus, fluffy couscous and shredded, spiced lamb that is the tastiest meat you might ever try. The portion size is slightly smaller than some of the other stands nearby, but the flavour is huge (no, seriously). The food is so damn good. Especially the chicken. And ESPECIALLY the lamb.
Spinach and Agushi – Exmouth Market
If you like heat in your lunch, then you really must try this Ghanaian stand. Delivering a veritable brick of jollof rice and multiple different curries, these guys know how to ensure your sinuses are clear and your stomach is stretched. Top the whole thing off with fried plantain and you might not even need dinner – the value for money here is on another level.
Grill My Cheese – Leather Lane
Working on a hangover? You probably need a warm, oozing, grilled cheese sandwich – crisp and buttery on the outside, gooey and melting on the inside. They even do a sandwich filled with mac-n-cheese. Let that sink in. The ingredients are all high in quality and chosen with a lot of care, so even if it’s not the heathiest lunch option, at least you can look down your nose at your colleague’s cheese sandwich from Tesco.
Crosstown Doughnuts – Leather Lane
Assuming it’s treat day, you will want to swing by Crosstown. Sourdough doughnuts encrusted with sticky icing are just the thing to get everyone in the office on your side. If you buy a couple and hand them out, you can probably bet on a few precious minutes with zero productivity as everyone is too sugared up to concentrate.
Jacket Potato Stand – Leather Lane
It seems to be a rule that all the best food markets have a jacket potato stand. On Leather Lane, you can get a hot potato slathered in butter and topped with your choice of the classics – cheesy baked beans, tuna mayonnaise, coleslaw and more. These are inexpensive and come in a polystyrene sleeve with no frills, for the traditional worker.
Meat Box – Exmouth Market
Fan of big portions? Yeah, us too. This lunch option is distinctly weighty, and yet still (kind of) healthy. You get a box filled with multiple different delicious salad choices, two kinds of meat (pulled pork and beef stew), plus mac-n-cheese, AND charred sourdough toast. There’s also a good dollop of fresh pesto to finish things off. It doesn’t get better than this, you should try it.
Paesan – Exmouth Market
Pasta, pasta, pasta. Delicious, hot box of fresh pasta, coated in sauce and a generous grating of parmesan. We have a lot of love for proper Italian pasta made right in front of you. These guys operate their stall directly in front of their restaurant, so if you are feeling like a more of a leisurely lunch, then grab a table and begin with some starters.
Banh Mi Bay – Midtown
This is the only one on the list that is not part of either Exmouth or Leather Lane market. We couldn’t resist adding it in though. This Vietnamese restaurant owns a secret recipe to some amazing chicken. Salty, unbelievably moreish, and sitting on a bed of steaming hot rice – perfection. Try their infamous banh mi baguettes to complete the authentic Vietnamese experience.
Realistically, if you wander through Leather Lane or Exmouth Market you will find something to sate your appetite before long, so just head out with some cash and take your pick!