If Clerkenwell in London is not a destination you have visited for a while, you may want to add it to your diary in the not so distant future.
The area is gaining rapid popularity as a chic place to hang out in thanks to the plethora of restaurants and bars that have cropped up of late. And The Localist is making quite a racket amidst them all – quite literally. For this hip industrial-setting abode, featuring exposed brick walls and wooden floors, it will have you toe-tapping and gently swaying from side-to-side to the DJ’s beats as you enjoy a cocktail or a three-course meal.
The juxtaposition of the bright blue-velvet chairs against the rest of the decor is probably no accident. It gives the dining room area a splash of colour it warrants to go with its equally vibrant mix of staff who through conversation I learned come from various parts of the globe. And their food recommendations were greatly appreciated, given the restaurant’s seasonally-driven European menu, international wines, draft beers and some seriously strong cocktails.
I would highly recommend the Los Banditos – a mix of rum, coconut liquor, butter scotch, Galliano – although maybe as a dessert rather than an aperitif. But then the sweet tooth gets its way most of the time.
You can expect all the classic pub grub staples like juicy stacked burgers, fish and chips and sirloin steaks. But continental dishes can be found in abundance too. Puglian burrata, linguine with mussels and pan fried sea bream all looked tantalising, but it was the tuna steak with corn on the cob and carrot salad that won me over. And if you’re into sampling several dishes, I would highly recommend getting two to three dishes from the healthy list of sharing plates. The roasted broccoli with sliced almond and yoghurt was absolutely divine. So much so I could have had it as a main.
Returning back to my sweet tooth, it would have been rude not to dive into the tiramisu. Rich, creamy and incredibly boozy, it was a great way to round off the otherwise rather healthy meal.
The Localist is divided into different sections, so you can pop in to have a drink after work or have several over the course of the night in its lively atmosphere. In addition, it offers a place to hang out over a lingering weekend brunch and a set lunch menu to escape the office. Now that would definitely be a great way of dodging a boring soggy sandwich come mid-week.
The Localist – Where and How?
The Localist is located at 38-42 St John St, London EC1M 4DL.