Out Of Town is quite a groovy little find. Down a quiet street in Clerkenwell, the neon sign of ‘Café Shop Bar’ tells the street exactly what’s going on here. There is an old scooter in the window too and some signage of daily specials to catch unsuspecting eyes.
Inside is visually very busy. At first glance it’s retro in that tatty, yellow and brown way, like one of the Brick Lane Sunday markets. On closer investigation, it’s quite an orderly and well-edited chaos. Everything for sale seems to be the rule here – and the space is decorated with vintage, retro and mid-Century tables and chairs, with plenty of nick-nacks, oddities, wonders and curios around the periphery of the shop. They sell a decent range of utilitarian and rockabilly men’s clothes (think Dickies and lesser known Levis denim series) as well as some vintage tees for good measure. Johnny Cash is the soundtrack, and the café counter is at the back.
Today’s specials are smoked mackerel on toast and Welsh rarebit – it’s mainly drinks and cake I think, but they do a fine range of breaded products to capture the lunch market and provide some sustenance. There’s also beer I believe.
I order a croque monsieur (£4) which is a thing of great simplicity and beauty, and yet often messed up. The amount of times I have received a cheese and ham toastie, or a barely grilled ham and cheese sandwich is depressing. I’ve paid much more at places which should know better, such as Raoul’s, so I’m excited but also a little nervous. I don’t mind a flutter and this has echoes of that, albeit on a sandwich-led field. Although the rarebit special is a bit of a hint that it’ll deliver.
And it does; properly executed, with a tangy gruyere taste which is so creamy-that- it’s melted almost into a béchamel sauce, as I’ve had on posher croques in France. Nice ham. Plain bread. Just as it should be. Sadly no frites on the side, as at my guilty pleasure, Café Rouge, but I digress…
The Monmouth coffee is well made and 30 seconds walk from StAli, people coming into a random retro and vintage shop to grab their takeaway coffees is a great endorsement. I’ll definitely be back to try some other dishes – toasted if I were a betting man…
Food – 7/10
Drink – 7/10
Value – 9/10
Service - 8/10 (friendly, laidback)
Staff Hotness – 8/10 (couple of pretty well turned out blokes)
Out Of Town
30a Great Sutton Street, EC1, Clerkenwell
(Website not working?) - http://www.outoftownlondon.com/