Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Where to have lunch in Farringdon Part 1

Exmouth Market

I've been working in Farringdon since last August and I've made a solid effort to try as many different lunch spots as possible. This stems from many years having to rely on a work canteen as my only source of lunch so I've been really enjoying the variety of options in this part of London. Farringdon is a great place to work, there's not many shops to temp me with lunch time spending but there are a ton of independent food options, from markets to cafes. I normally bring in a packed lunch because eating out every day is ridiculous and expensive but once or twice a week I pop to the shops, either with friends, colleagues or on my own to try something new.

This is definitely going to be a multi parter as there are far too many options to talk about in one post. So here's a random selection of some of my favourite places for lunch.

The Quality Chop House


Before I started working in Farringdon I was already in love with The Quality Chop House. I'd been there once before for dinner and loved the classical English style of food. Think lots of meat, great roasted potatoes and food with tons of flavour. However, I didn't realise they had a shop until I started working down the road. I quickly discovered their freshly made sandwiches and sweet treats. Every day they sell three different sandwiches (meat and veggie options). The sandwiches are huge and packed full of excellent ingredients. They range in price from £4.50 to £5.00 which does sound a little expensive but they're pretty hefty and will keep you going all afternoon. My favourite is the rare roast beef and horseradish but I'm also quite partial to the chicken and tarragon if I get there before it sells out. My favourite veggie option is the cheese and chutney.

They also serve a selection of freshly baked sweets. I adore the gooey chocolate brownies that have a layer of condensed milk running through the centre and the little squares of chocolate fudge help keep sugar cravings at bay. Their home made salted crisps are pretty great as well.

On Wednesday to Friday they also serve hot food from outside the shop. Sausage rolls on Wednesday, bacon butties on Thursday and burgers on Friday. The beef brisket and mustard burger (£6) is insanely good and thanks to their loyalty card scheme I normally save up 8 stamps for one of these bad boys.

Quality Chop House is definitely my favourite lunch spot and because it's the closest option to my office I can't help but visit every time I forget to bring my packed lunch in.

Chifafa


Chifafa was somewhere I visited quite early on when I started working in the neighbourhood. It's around the corner from my office on Clerkenwell Road and serves 'posh' kebabs. It's a small but nice place with some seating inside. The menu is pretty small offering 5 different options which you can have in a kebab, rice or salad box. Last time I had a halloumi kebab (Za'atar-dusted halloumi, served with pickled turnip, houmous, cucumber salad, feta, tomato and fresh herbs) which was fantastic. The ingredients are super fresh and the halloumi was perfectly cooked and generously portioned. The flat breads are fluffy and flavoursome and make a nice change from a sandwich.

Woolley's


Whilst not strictly Farringdon I couldn't not mention Woolley's. Sarah and I meet here every week for lunch as it's directly halfway between me in Farringdon and her in Covent Garden I guess it's technically Holburn but it only takes 10 minutes to walk here so it isn't far. Woolley's is a bit like a canteen. It serves hot food alongside a salad and sandwich bar. On the odd occasion it's a nice day we get a sandwich to eat in the park next door but most of the time we eat in. I always get a jacket potato with beans and cheese (£4.80) whilst Sarah likes the curry. The food is great quality and the portions are huge. Most of the hot meals cost around a fiver which is a great deal considering how much food you get. The restaurant is lovely with a homely feel and friendly staff. I've not had anything from the salad bar but it's always full of colourful options. We used to meet in The Food Store across the road which is similar in theme but not as nice. I do miss their roast pork though.

Banh Mi Bay


Banh Mi Bay is my go to for Vietnamese food in Farringdon. I used to past this restaurant on the bus when Steve lived in Islington, always thinking I'd pop in one day, I still can't believe I work a 5 minutes away now. You can get takeaway but I usually eat in. The Banh Mi i.e. Vietnamese baguettes are a speciality, I love the hot pork which packs quite a punch spice wise. The pho is delicious, the soup is really big and deep in fresh, fragrant flavours with lots of salad leaves, slices of pork and noodles. I've also had the chicken curry which is extremely tasty thanks to the rich coconut based sauce.

There's quite a few of Vietnamese restaurants in the area but I love Banh Mi Bay so much that the thought of going anywhere else doesn't really interest me. The food is great and the prices are super reasonable.

Moirto


Morito is my one stop place for tapas in Farringdon. It's on Exmouth Market and it's always rammed which only reinforces just how great this tiny little tapas bar is. What I really like about Morito is that whilst it's a tapas bar it also sells middle eastern style food so expect aubergine, spiced lamb and lots of Mediterranean spices like sumac, harrisa and cumin. I've been once for dinner and once for lunch but on both visits the food was incredible. The croquettes melt in the mouth and the crispy aubergine with whipped feta and date molasses tastes like a middle eastern chips and cheese. The meat dishes are excellent and I have fond memories of the octopus, chicharrones, and jamón ibérico. The food isn't cheap but the portions are quite large for tapas and last time I went for lunch 4 plates was absolutely plenty between 2 people.

Morito definitely isn't the place for a quick spot of lunch but if you're after something a little special then this is a great option. I can't wait to return.

Pizza Pilgrims


I've blogged about Pizza Pilgrims before but I couldn't not mention it here because I really do adore their pizzas. The N'duja is my personal favourite as I love the spicy sausage. The service is quick so having a pizza at lunch time doesn't have to take up too much time.

Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 2 guide.
Check out my where to eat lunch in Farringdon part 3 guide.

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3 comments:

  1. Ohh I worked in Farringdon for nearly 2 years (left in March, sob) and really took the food scene for granted - it's not nearly as plentiful in my new environment! I'm sure you've discovered it already but Leather Lane is a HAVEN for food lovers - my favourites were KIN for Thai/Vietnamese (their £5 takeaway curries are enormous and so tasty), Konditor + Cook for sweet treats, Gangnam Style for cheap and cheerful bibimbab, any of the salad bars (my fave was near Wrap It Up, £3 for serve-yourself salad and it's delish), Chick for falafel, and the Mediterranean wrap place next to Chick for huge, amazing value, wonderful falafel and halloumi wraps.

    This isn't even taking into account any post-work haunts but I'll be here all day otherwise! Can you tell I miss working there?! x

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    1. I used to work on Roseberry Avenue and loved going to Exmouth Market for lunch. It's mostly chains near where I work but trying to find some independent places to stop lunchtime boredom! x

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