Latest opening: Cloth

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Cloth wine-led restaurant Farringdon

Related tags Cloth Wine Ben Butterworth Joe Haynes Tom Hurst

Friends and wine importers Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth have teamed up with ex-Lasdun chef Tom Hurst to launch a wine bar and restaurant in Farringdon.

What:An understated wine bar and restaurant just south of London’s Smithfield Market.​ On Cloth Fair - an atmospheric alley close to St Bartholomew church - Cloth is part of a historic row of buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1666. The corner site is currently open Monday to Friday and is split into a bar area that offers drinks and snacks from midday until close and a more formal restaurant that is open for lunch and dinner. 

Who:​ Cloth is the debut restaurant project for wine suppliers Joe Haynes and Ben Butterworth. The pair have been supplying top London restaurants with wine for several years via their two separate import businesses. The kitchen is led by Tom Hurst. He has a near impeccable CV for such a role having cooked at Brawn and The Marksman before going on to oversee the food at Levan and Salon as executive chef. He was most recently head chef at Lasdun.​ 

The food:​ Hurst has penned a simple, wine-friendly a la carte menu. Dishes include pigʼs head croquettes and apple mustard; Dorset crab, celeriac and almond; Somerset hogget, grilled cos lettuce, smoked tongue and anchovy; turbot with beurre blanc; and rump of Longhorn beef with Burgundy snails and parsley for two to share. There’s also a lunchtime prixe fixe (two/three courses for £24/£29) that includes the likes of mussels, fennel and lardo on toast; hogget sausage, chickpeas and preserved lemon; and warm chocolate mousse and hazelnut ice cream. Options on the bar menu, meanwhile, include Carlingford oysters with Chardonnay vinegar; duck liver parfait and toasted brioche; and brown crab and Berkswell tagliarini. 


The wine:​ Around half the wine list at Cloth will be made up of bottles from Haynes’ Penzer Wines and Butterworth’s eponymous import and supply businesses. Butterworth specialises in grower Champagnes and new-wave Bordeaux, but also represents winemakers from Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Loire and Luxembourg. Haynes portfolio leans more towards Germany, having worked in wine production and farming for several years and studied winemaking at Geisenheim. The other 50% of the list is made up of wines from friends in the industry with the shared ethos of championing small, independent, and sustainable producers, such as Emile Wines, The Winery, Fingal Rock, Carte Blanche, Winemakers Club and Raeburn. Wines by the glass start at £6. 

The vibe:​ Beneath the former home of poet John Betjeman, the Grade II-listed space is near perfect for such a venture with its low ceilings, wood panelling and antique wall lights. Warm candle bulbs create a cosy, intimate atmosphere, while marble tables, long dark wood banquettes, antique crockery, and silver plate cutlery create the feel of a classic bistro.

And another thing: ​Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew created the blueprint for the wine-led restaurant when they launched Noble Rot in 2015. It seems likely that Haynes and Butterworth were at least partly inspired by the Lamb's Conduit Street venture (and the pair's subsequent outings in Soho and Mayfair) but a strong food and wine programme that both have their own distinct personalities ensure Cloth doesn't feel like a copycat.  

44 Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ

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