Gourmand: 24 hours in Clerkenwell and Covent Garden

Words by
Jemima Sissons

23rd August 2017

From morning coffee to late-night cocktails, discover the best places for gourmet cuisine, cooking accessories and foodie finds when exploring London in a day

9am

Wake up in The Zetter Townhouse, swagged in Georgian splendour, with nooks aplenty and gilt-framed oil paintings lending it a cosy air. The elegant building is located perfectly for those doing business in the city, or wishing to see the sights of both central and east London.

Take breakfast at The Modern Pantry, serving dishes such as garam masala-roasted banana, pecan granola, coconut yoghurt and passion fruit, or miso, green chilli and spring onion waffles. For something quick, Workshop Coffee across the road does a mean Breton kouign-amanne.

11am

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Take a break from retail therapy in Clerkenwell London at their 155 Bar and Kitchen

Clerkenwell has a wealth of offerings. Peruse concept store and restaurant Clerkenwell London, which sells everything from fashion and homeware to wine and jewellery. Look out for their elegant Morihata bottle opener or Hend Krichen ceramic pink bowl. Follow this with a restorative massage. The palm leaf wallpaper is enough to lull the travel weary into a sense of tropical bliss. The deep-tissue massage is rigorous and restorative, and the Bamford products leave you ready to face the monster day of shopping — and food — ahead.

12pm

Visit The Quality Chop House, which has an excellent homemade nduja, a lemon and olive oil polenta cake and sourdough bread and pork pies. This should give you ample fuel for scouting around the nearby shops.

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Discover the hip Scandi designs at Forest

Clerkenwell Road is something of a design hub. Find some covetable kitchen- and dining-room accessories in hip Scandinavian emporium Forest. Its black Hasami porcelain pieces are centrepieces in their own right.

1pm

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Salt cod at Palatino, Stevie Parle’s new restaurant

Salt cod at Palatino, Stevie Parle’s new restaurant

It’s time for a pitstop. Palatino is a new Italian run by Stevie Parle. Take a big appetite for the salt cod with camone tomatoes and olive oil, cacio e pepe tonnarelli pasta and a fennel, pomegranate and lemon salad. Save room for chocolate cake with pistachio and honeycomb.

3pm

Walk to Covent Garden. Neal’s Yard Dairy has some cheese stunners this summer, such as a meltingly soft Cardo or brined Graceburn, similar to feta. One of the unsung regions of Italy, Le Marche is celebrated in deli Rossodisera. Pick up some aged pecorino or their interesting salami, ciauscolo.

5pm

It’s never too early for an aged Martini. The Ivy, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is serving one made with 1917 Hermitage cognac and Ruinart champagne. If hunger bites, then feast on their bang bang chicken or duck and watermelon salad.

7pm

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One of the tempting cocktails on the new menu at Scarfes Bar

For brash, hedonistic fun, Bunga Bunga in Covent Garden is a kitschy, mafia- themed extravaganza. Recline on gold thrones or dine in a covered Riva boat while enjoying a set menu and lashings of red wine. On the way home, head to Rosewood London, where Calum Franklin is making a name as a king of pies. Try his Instagram-worthy chicken, girolle and tarragon number.

Then go to the hotel’s Scarfes Bar. Esoteric delights on the new menu include Orbis Non Sufficit, made with gin, pistachio-aged vermouth and pickled walnut, and Start Me Up, with Royal Salute, peach wine and horny goat weed.

10pm

It is a healthy 40-minute walk back to the hotel. For a deserved nightcap, The Zetter Townhouse has Tony Conigliaro at the helm, mixing delicious drinks such as Hidalgo’s Cobbler, mixed with manzanilla sherry, Pedro Ximénez and cognac.