By Ellie Philpotts
Healthcare communications is hungry work – at least that’s what we tell ourselves in the office, anyway…
Fortunately for our ever-rumbling stomachs, but less so for our wallets and waistlines, we’ve set up camp in the rather foodie Farringdon. After being previously based a stone’s throw from Borough Market, we’d been somewhat spoilt where cuisine was concerned, but luckily the move to Kirby Street hasn’t exactly been a setback on that front.
By now, we feel we’ve earned a quasi-qualification in knowing the best eats this side of town, so whether you also work in the Farringdon vicinity or just find yourself passing through, hopefully you’ll take something useful from our foodie guide!
We’re a logical bunch at M&F Health (most of the time). So, we realise it’d be almost criminal to kick off a Farringdon food piece without starting on Leather Lane. Although other areas are certainly worth shouting about too, Leather Lane has nailed the ability to draw in visitors in their droves, coming from far beyond Farringdon itself.
The iconic food market commands most of the street’s attention – and rightly so, but that doesn’t mean the more permanent inhabitants lining either side don’t get a look-in. Good & Proper Tea are getting a name far and wide across London as a highlight of the city’s thriving tea scene, so we’re pretty lucky that they’re right on our doorstep. Launched with the aim of ‘showing you how good tea can be, when it’s done right’, this business may look small to the untrained eye when just passing its exterior, but is actually rather large! Sourcing the world’s highest-standard whole-leaf teas before custom-brewing to ensure optimum flavour, they call their routine the ‘way of doing things good and proper’, but despite all this, tea isn’t their sole focus. Oh no, somehow they still have time to whip up the kind of excellent eats that make us wonder why we ever used to settle for the mere mid-cuppa Hob-Nob. Their #CrumpetCollaborations (if you follow their Instagram, you’ll appreciate that the hashtag can’t be neglected) are creative concoctions like Rhubarb and Hibiscus Crumble, while there are also dishes like peanut butter and banana croissants and simple but brilliant bacon and eggs. They’re big on community spirit too, often teaming up with bakeries and food writers from elsewhere. So, all in all, a highlight for Farringdon’s resident tea-drinkers – but they also host pop-ups, including at Brockley Market every Saturday, if you’re not in the area – or just getting weekend withdrawal symptoms!
Doing little to disprove the theory that Leather Lane runs on tea, Trents a few doors down are also well-trained in the art of making a decent cup. Their emphasis is a little more general, however – think watermelon salads and chai latte ice-cream now summer’s on its way, or the shakshuka and soup if London’s famous cold spells decide they’re not budging.
And it’s not just tea. If you need something stronger, the area’s charming coffee shops are just the ticket. Department of Coffee and Social Affairs are rather popular in our Public Affairs team, while Prufrock Coffee won the praise of Time Out, who dubbed them responsible for ‘some of the best coffee in London.’ And Albion perched on the corner that fuses Farringdon with Clerkenwell is a winner for business brunches.
But, Farringdon’s favourite food? Falafel! It’s difficult to make it down the length of Leather Lane without being offered a sample, and for this we’re thanking the number of Middle Eastern stores and stalls that have set up here. With Chick on the same street, The King of Falafel just round the corner on Clerkenwell Road and Hummus Bros on the nearby Grays Inn Road, falafel fans will be laughing all the way back to work.
If you’re taking advantage of the full lunch hour, it’s well worth heading up the road to Exmouth Market. Another standout amid the capital’s seemingly endless food markets, Exmouth, although firmly Clerkenwell territory, is another reason we’re glad to be in Farringdon. With Grind making every Instagram addict’s dreams come true; Pizza Pilgrims; Caravan and a whole lot more, we do have to warn that it’s no mean feat to drag yourself back to the direction of your desk.
Some other foodie highlights for us at M&F Health? Well, we frequent Konditor & Cook when there’s something like a birthday – any excuse! We’ve had some team meals at The Grill on the Market and Iberica, and recently discovered the lure of Crosstown Doughnuts. No better unofficial office role than being on doughnut duty…!
Food brings people together. Whether it’s some Biscuiteers cookies from a happy client, a tapas-and-wine situation, or just a jacket spud from the stall on the corner, this definitely rings true at M&F Health.