A walking tour my hubby downloaded on his iPhone takes us through the Barbican centre (worth a visit!) and along Whitecross Street. This street is lined with cheap breakfast spots and as we see most frequented by builders and construction workers.
These heavy lads polish off monstrous plates of baked beans, fried eggs, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes + a couple of bacon sandwiches long before I manage to drink up my cup of coffee! We find our breakfast at Kennedy’s: a crispy and flaky steak and Guinness pie for hubby and a steak and kidney pie for me. Yum!As the morning passes by, little by little people arrive pushing and carrying deconstructed food stalls and boxes full of fresh ingredients. Some stalls already line Whitecross Street and different flavors come our way as we stroll along: curries, stews, paella… But we’re not hungry yet and a little too early. These food stalls are very popular around noon for lunch. So we walk down to Old Street, Central Street, turn left at Lever Street, walk down Percival Street and Skinner Street to finally end up at Exmouth Market, our main goal.
There’s a interesting blend of shops, eateries and restaurants here. One I liked a lot is the Potato Merchant where you can buy different types of potatoes. Their (takeaway) menu is also stuffed with fine spuds.A little further are also a fair number of food stalls. It’s around noon now and we watch packs of office people picking up a hot lunch. Same styles here: Asian, Spanish, quick bites & smoothies. Other recommendations on our list: Caravan, Moro and Morito.
But I guess we already made up our mind just by reading some reviews and menus on internet. And when we see the chalkboard in front of the restaurant cry out lunch for £10 there’s no escaping anymore. Medcalf it is.We step inside and are the first to arrive. The prompt waitress shows us to a table of 4, hands over the menu and places a free pitcher of tap water on the table. The bread costs you £1,50 though. We order 2 Meantime ales (£2,10). So here’s lunch: you can choose 2 out of 11 small plates for £10. Choices are: Welsh rarebit, Monmouthshire beech-smoked air-dried ham, roast tomato soup & creme fraiche, Cornish sardines with rocket on toast, pork belly with bramley apple & cider sauce, Trealy Farm game salami with pickles, cured sea trout with pickled cucumber & carrot, Wye Valley asparagus with quail eggs and frisee, green tomato with goats curd and lovage, Cashel blue cheese with toasted walnuts and chicory and last but not least Lyme bay scallops with dry cured bacon.
We decide on scallops, pork belly, the ham and cured sea trout.Our first plate arrive 5 minutes later. The sea trout turns out to be a fresh salad consisting of lightly picked cucumber and carrots with thin slices of cured trout and watercress. Fresh, crunchy, light and tasty! Next are 3 perfectly seared scallops on a celeriac mash topped with fried bacon and watercress salad. We don’t mind the coral still attached to the scallop but my experience tells me quite a few people would be put off by seeing it on their plates. A very inspiring dish, we both liked it a lot! There comes the pork belly: 3 nice slices of smooth, fatty and succulent pork belly accompanied by a well balanced and chunky apple sauce. A delicious classic. The dried Monmouthshire ham is generous and flavorful but cut too thickly which is a pity. This makes it so chewy… Hubby orders another ale and is curious about the blue cheese for dessert. We get a perfectly seasoned salad of watercress, chicory, walnuts and creamy bits of blue cheese, which make me think of the blue cheese we bought at Neal’s yard Dairy. Homerun! When we finish our last plate the place is as good as full. Everybody goes for the little plates. They all look very appetizer. It’s raining again outside so we stay for another couple of minutes and enjoy the free wifi. In the end we pay £37,41 (gratuity included) for a great lunch. Beautiful sample formula!
Medcalf has unfortunately closed.
40 Exmouth Market