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Test Driving Sessions Arts Club - this vision of a restaurant sees Florence Knight back in the kitchen on top form

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewNow THAT's what we call a good looking restaurant.

What do we need to know about Sessions Arts Club?

If you haven't already seen photos of this place on your Insta feeds then know that it's certainly one of the most anticipated, not to mention beautiful, restaurant openings of the year so far. The chef at this new Clerkenwell spot is Florence Knight who made a name for herself at Polpetto, when she worked with Russell Norman. She's been out of the restaurant game for a while, raising a family and writing cookery books, but has returned in the finest of forms.

Where is it?

You'll find it at the top of the Old Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green (which also includes a gallery and a rooftop pool). Access is via a doorway on the side of the building as you come on to Clerkenwell Green off Farringdon Lane (we circled the building to find it) and it's about a five-minute walk from Farringdon station.

So it's a bit of a looker, right?

Taking the lift up, it leads you out into what would have been the old Judge's Dining Room at this Grade II listed courthouse. It's jaw-droppingly beautiful, in a distressed fashion. There's a roof terrace with alfresco space for dining, along with a mezzanine dining space giving you great views over the bar and main dining room.

Where's the best place to sit?

We were up on the mezzanine and we'd definitely suggest here if you can get a table. 

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewThere are some lovely booths up on the mezzanine for group dining and tables for two have the best view - both of the diners below and the arresting gas-fired lighting.

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewA closer look at that amazing gas-fired lighting

Cocktails to start?

You really should, whether you're after a boozy option or a booze-free treat like melon and rose soda or a fig leaf fizz.

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewWe had a plum bellini (£7) and a refreshing lemon verbena sour (£11).

What kind of menu is it?

In a nutshell, it's one of those menus that definitely rewards either going as a group where everyone's happy to share, or repays multiple visits - because you're going to want to eat everything. It's seasonal in focus and roams the UK and Europe for great ingredients. Dishes start at £5 and work their way up to around the mid £20s.

You can expect the menu to change a bit, for example depending on what the day boats have brought in, but to give you an idea, here's what we had:

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewPancetta Arrotolata (£6) served with a super remoulade.

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewCrab croquette (£5) - you should order one of these for each of you - you won't want to share. Next-level, croquettes. 

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewPane carasau, aubergine & bottarga (£8) - Sardinian music paper bread slathered with smoky aubergine and generous shavings of bottarga.

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewStar dish: Think confit potatoes, layered with eel and served with nasturtiums and salmon roe. Heaven.(£18)

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewLamb, coco beans and spinach (£26) - if this picture doesn't make you want to grab your oyster card and head straight there to eat it then you might want to think about a trip to Specsavers.

What about vegans or vegetarians?

There's plenty of options equally as enticing for those after plant-based inspiration from the beetroot with goat's curd and olive crumb to the friggitelli with cannellini beans and lemons. 

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewPanisse, lemon thyme & sea salt (£9) - huge chickpea fries that are a must-order.

Room for dessert?

If you have to skip one of the dishes above to make room, then do, because both the desserts we had were:

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewChocolate tart (£9) - almost mousse-like, this was a wonderful tart that you should definitely try, particularly if you normally avoid it because you're worried it'll be too rich.

sessions arts club london restaurant reviewPanna cotta and mirabelles (£9) - the softest, creamiest panna cotta served with seasonal fruits. On a more recent menu, this comes with black figs.

What about drink?

With a wine list put together by Keeling Andrew & Co, you can expect plenty of interesting things to dry, from entry-level Chin-Chin to winemaker Chisa Bize's gorgeous burgundies.

Summing up:

Expectations were always going to be high for Florence Knight's return to the London restaurant scene. But here in glorious surroundings of an 18th-century courthouse, she's found a home that matches her superb cooking. For a long lunch with friends or a sexy second date, this is a great new opening - maybe one of the best of 2021.

 

More about Sessions Arts Club

Where is it? 24 Clerkenwell Green, Farringdon, London EC1R 0NA

How to book: Book online

Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @sessionsartsclub.

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Sessions Arts Club. Prices correct at time of publication. 

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