Brummell recommends: Cloth

Hidden down an old-timey alley in Farringdon, Cloth is the new restaurant that’s all about romance, chic wines and classic cookery

Food and Drink 6 Jun 2024

Cloth restaurant Farringdon

The background 

The dance of food and wine is a meticulously choreographed one. Flavours must be delicately balanced so as not to overwhelm, and each note considered to create a perfect two-step of synergy on the palate. Often an afterthought in menu curation, a wine list can play second fiddle to a new restaurant’s offering. But not at Cloth. 

Chef Tom Hurst – previously of Brawn, The Marksman and Levan, to name a few on his resume – has joined forces with friends and wine aficionados Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth to launch the newly opened Farringdon bar and restaurant. Championing small, independent and sustainable producers such as Emile Wines, The Winery, Fingal Rock and Carte Blanche, their carefully curated bottle list is the mark of a trio that really knows their way around a cellar. From the grower champagnes and new-wave bordeauxs of Butterworth and Haynes’ own import-and-supply business, to other old and rare tipples hand-picked by industry friends, there really is something for every discerning taste. 

Butterworth himself was on hand to assist in our choice – convenient for us, whose wine knowledge doesn’t extend far beyond “red, white or pink”. He pointed us in the direction of Guillaume Gonfrier’s “Pif Rouge”, a classic, old-school bordeaux red befitting the Cloth vibes, and one that we were assured would be a harmonious match to the culinary delights ahead. Three glasses down, he wasn’t wrong. 

Cloth new restaurant London

The space 

A trip to Cloth is a taste of old-world London. Housed within a Grade II-listed building that was once home to poet John Betjeman and one of the few places to survive 1066’s Great Fire, there’s a real piece-of-history feel about the place – echoed in its dark wooden panelling, antique artwork and vintage tableware. A soft glow of candlelight and charming Dickensian-esque curtains set the scene for classic cookery (ineffably more elevated than Victorian fare, as you’d hope). 

Cloth Farringdon restaurant menu

The food 

Flying in the face of the small-plate norm usually adhered to in wine bars, Cloth’s menu is defined by snacks, starters, mains and desserts – a revelation! Here, the most classic of French techniques is treated to a wholly British touch, with always-seasonal ingredients celebrating the best produce around. Begin with the English asparagus, hen’s egg and tarragon – being sure to mop up every last well-seasoned morsel with the homemade sourdough – and the raw rose veal with tonnato, a dish inspired by an unforgettable holiday sandwich, according to Haynes. 

Cloth restaurant new menu

Succinctly covering all bases, the mains spotlight one pasta dish, one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. Delicate agnolotti pillows filled with nduja, mauve aubergine and saffron are freshly made by hand, but it was the Cornish turbot in a sea of beurre blanc that was the real star of the show, accompanied by the crispiest-yet-fluffiest chips. Finishing with a dessert of strawberry trifle that would make your grandmother revisit her recipe, this was a masterclass in crowd-pleasing plates. 

Cloth restaurant dessert menu

The bill 

A meal for two with wine is around £130. There will also be a weekly changing set lunch menu at £24 for two courses or £29 for three, and £5 corkage on Mondays. 

The verdict 

Elegant and refined yet comforting and accessible, much like its setting, Cloth is one that’s sure to stand the test of time. And although it’s currently only open Monday to Friday, this new neighbourhood spot will definitely make your working week a little more palatable.

Cloth, 44 Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ;