Since the 1989 opening of the Quality Chop House the scruffy Clerkenwell- City borders now house a selection of affordable, easy-going restaurants that shame London's posher districts.

Farringdon Road

Charles Fontaine, a stocky French Savoyard, worked in any number of London restaurants, most notably the Caprice, before opening The Quality Chop House, 94 Farringdon Road, London EC1 (0171-837 5093). He bought the kitchen copper on his credit card while juggling payments on the restoration of this tiny caff, originally built more than a century ago for the workers on the Farringdon railway. The restoration is sensitive: the original settles have a soft burnished glow, which is just as well, for they are rather hard. The lighting is romantic and flattering, and the ceiling fan (imported from the States) matches the period. Fontaine could have made the Chop House a snob joint but he is too much of a steak-and-potatoes type: make that T-bone and crispy chips. The duck confit here is superb and there was a small riot recently when ox tongue with capers went off the menu. The Eggs Benny is a Sunday brunch delight, and there are always good ales and spritely French country wines. My favourite restaurant (though, please don't write, by no means perfect). Average spend pounds 15-pounds 20. Open lunch Mon-Fri 12-3pm, and for Suday brunch 12-4pm; open nightly for dinner from 6.30pm. Cash and cheques only.

If Fontaine is not in his place, chances are he will be across the street in The Eagle,159 Farringdon Road, EC1 (0171-837 1353). And so will half of Clerkenwell. Some pubs manage to tame the pleasures of boozing and eating when they decide to serve food. The owners of the Eagle had the nous to turn cooking into a sort of performance art, so much of the bar has been converted into an open kitchen producing mainly rough but good, Iberian-influenced grills. The smell of onions frying mingles with cigarette smoke and old-beer fumes. Those who eat jostle for space with those who drink. The upshot is electric, singular and requires a certain stamina from the customer. House swally includes the good, rough red Salice Salentino. Approx pounds 12-pounds 15 to eat and drink enough for a hangover. Open 12-11pm Mon- Fri, food served 12.30-2.30pm and 6.30-10.30pm.

Britton Street

The structure of No 55 Britton Street, EC1, dates from 1705, the front from about 1782, the ground floor shop cafe from last January. It is The Jerusalem Coffee House (0171-490 4281), a tiny cafe-cum-restaurant serving coffees, tarts and stodgy but honest lunches. The restoration, by a young Anglo-Irishman named Julian Humphries, is so low-key that the place is openly ancient, down to the warped panelling. New aspects, such as the beautiful Delft-blue and white tile work, stay in tone. It is worth noting that these tiles are by the late local artist Simon Petit, who died two years ago from Aids. Open 8am-11pm Mon-Fri. Lunches pounds 5-pounds 8. Licensed. Cash and cheques only.

Whitecross Street

There are no nut-bakes, no stodgy bread, no stripped-pine park benches, no chipped stoneware, yet Carnevale, 135 Whitecross Street, EC1 (0171- 250 3452) is a vegetarian restaurant. Sandwiches and Neal's Yard cheeses are sold from the front. To the rear there is a small dining room and tiny garden, where one might find seasonal risottos, spicy chickpea salads, good quiches and so on. There is a short wine list and fresh lemonade. The olives are superb, coffees good. Two courses pounds 8.50, three pounds 10.50. Open 10am-10.30pm Mon-Fri. Cash and cheques only.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

    Recruitment Genius: General Processor

    £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

    Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot