The Quality Chop House

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Quality, even better than the 19th century
A one-off London institution first opened in 1869 as an affordable food outlet for working locals. By the second half of the 20th century the woody space — marked by high ceiling, black-and-white-tiled floor and near-uncomfortablly pokey but pleasing benches — had become a period treasure. Things got a bit dull food-wise in the 21st century until November 2012, when Will Lander and business partner Josie Stead, each with a foodie pedigree, reopened the Grade-II listed dining room with modern touches, including arse-friendly padding and a revamped menu that cranked up the quality more than a few notches while maintaining its original British sensibility. Prices do not constitute a bargain, though there are good-value two-course and three-course "express" lunches and dinners to be had. In all honesty the rooms are practically reason enough to eat here. And the menu is reassuringly restless, with new and seasonal offerings appearing regularly. In late 2013 Lander and Stead opened a rather precious and compatible food shop and butcher's just next door at no. 90. Located around the corner from food haven Exmouth Market and very close to the quaint designer-trade streets of Clerkenwell. Tube stations: Farringdon and, much further afield, Angel.