There are no places in London I love more than Clerkenwell.
Tucked away at its heart is my favourite little pocket of London, Exmouth Market.
It has absolutely everything I like.
Pretty brick houses and retro-looking stores with just the right amount of hipster to them.
Some seriously strong sign pun game.
Enough stationaries to make any addict’s heart happy.
Some of the most beautiful plants I’ve ever seen.
And most importantly, A LOT of lovely, independant and very good little restaurants.
Some of London’s very best have recently moved onto Exmouth Market, including Macellaio, an excellent ‘Italian butcher with tables’.
No matter what you’re after, be it British food, Korean chicken, cocktails or pizza, you’ll find it on Exmouth Market.
Unfortunately I haven’t had time to try it all just yet.
Not because I rarely am around, oh no, rather because I always find myself making a beeline for my absolute favourite restaurant in all of London.
Morito is a tapas & mezze bar, opened by hospitality legends Sam & Sam Clark, of the nearby Moro fame.
It’s a somewhat small but oh-so-lovely space, with its signature orange bar and monogrammed wooden bar stools.
And more importantly, the atmosphere and food rival that of the best tapas bars across Spain, with a touch of Northern Africa meets the Middle East thrown in for good measure.
Not over-ordering is always a challenge. The menus might be short, but I always want to try everything.
From the short but carefully crafted cocktail list, we tried the Aperitivo (vermouth, cava, bay & orange).
But my current favourite is a bit of a twist on a classic G&T, the Oliver (white vermouth, gin, tonic, orange slice).
The bread basket is an absolute must-order. All breads are made in house and are basically heaven in dough form.
The herby za’atar flatbread is my favourite, especially when dipped into rich, green olive oil seasoned with a few pinches of sumac.
Croquetas are such a tapas staple and so delicious I’m never, ever able to skip them.
We went for the salt cod version this time, with heaps of parsley and a generous dollop of punchy aioli.
The tortilla is not as pillow-y here as it is at Barrafina, but the current leek and lemon thyme combination is so delicate and more-ish.
An absolute lunch winner.
My favourite dish was a little Confit duck, escarole & hazelnuts number.
Such a simple, yet vibrant and perfectly balanced dish.
The Crispy aubergine, whipped feta & date molasses, topped with fresh mint leaves, is basically next level dirty fries and another crowd pleaser (and it seems a favourite amongst the staff as well…).
Last but not least was the Chicken, chorizo, spinach & oloroso a la plancha.
Perfectly grilled chicken, with heaps of chorizo and just soft spinach leaves.
A match made in heaven.
The dessert list is really rather short (olive oil mousse or ice cream on our visit) but even I don’t mind as I’m usually too stuffed to even consider dessert and settle for a caffè con leche instead.
The perfect end to a perfect meal, just like every other time I’ve visited Morito.