Thursday, 19 February 2009


Lunch with Carrie (I'm not quite sure why she bothered turning up as she only eats seeds!)

Decent Latte

Incredibly fresh farmhouse white that came pre-buttered!

The steak and kidney casserole- so perfect, words desert me.

Desperate Dan would've been proud with the huge amount of cow in the bowl; Carrie dumped all her kidneys into my bowl! I'm beginning to wonder what the Irish Stew is going to taste like here!

Tremendous lunch and excellent value!


If truth be told, this café is the next best thing to home cooked food, if not; better!

It gives me immense (or intense...might as well chuck that in as well) pleasure to scribble or even mutter about J+A Café.

I've never started a review with a sentence like that before unless a particular
eating place blows me away, well quite simply J+A takes the absolute honour. I also have to be so very careful with the superlatives I use in this review otherwise I run the risk of OTT ebullience. J+A is pretty well hidden within Clerkenwell and the best way to reach it is by my now habitual bus ride of route 55.

There's a tiny door-sized passageway (not too unlike the one off Oxford Street to St Christopher's Place) leading to Sutton Lane that’s accessible from Clerkenwell Road. Sutton Lane (must be newish as I couldn’t find it in my A to Z) is one of those modern and beautifully regenerated courtyards that’s emerging in a part of London that’s fast becoming desirable to live and work in.

Barely six months old, J and A are the initials of the two wonderful Irish colleens who own and run the café. The dining room (or mini hall because of its high ceilings) is from a practical perspective, beautiful and purposeful.

The place was already buzzing with what I believed to be media or design pseuds (not surprising in this part of Londinium); as a result I had to settle down with my solo pair of glutæus maximus at the communal refectory table that’s located in the middle of the room. The only minor quibble I have with this table is the long benches; they resonate irritatingly when an incessant foot tapper or leg shaker is also one of the occupying sitters.

Food; everything on it cries out to be ordered; from homemade this to that, I was totally spoilt for choice when I perused the menu.

The Irish Stew was sold out (‘tis 2pm by now) so I plumped for what most people would do when they see it, STEAK.

Steak Sandwich- this came with onion, rocket, dijon, mayo and toms. Beautifully cooked and well-seasoned meat accompanied by the thickest cut and crustiest white bread imaginable- this is unadulterated sandwich porn heaven! As if the sarnie wasn’t enough on its own, crisps were thrown in as well; J+A cheers!

The mandatory Bellaphon test of cake binge. The Chocolate and Morello Cherry Sponge Cake was simply paradise found, it tasted retributively divine. This wondrous cake, and correct me if I’m wrong girls, was of the baked-in-house variety rather than out-sourced!

Lest I forget, the coffee courtesy of J Atkinson & Co in Lancaster was passable, I think a seven-minute stroll to Dose would prove a better bet to complete the meal.

I know it’s strange to draw comparisons, but I’m beginning to worry about The Modern Pantry, so very close, yet so much more expensive and hitting the nail; purveyor of one of the poorest service records in London. J+A is a marvel of a find, eureka! Highly recommended.

4 Sutton Lane


Browners said...

Fascinating. Very keen to give this a go with my Sandwichist hat on. The steak sandwich looks like an absolute belter.

bellaphon said...

Browners- It'll be interesting to see how you get on there! Enjoy.

Daniel said...

Liked the space. Was keen to try the stew but it was already sold out (testament to its quality). Had a chicken sandwich instead. Tasty but a little more chicken would have been great.
Would certainly go back.

I'm the first design pseud from the left btw.

bellaphon said...

Daniel- Hi! One day someone's gonna hunt me down with my snaps! Thanks for stopping by and your contribution!