Part of the Urban Leisure Group, Ask for Janice sits quietly among the offerings of Long Lane Farringdon. This cool, calm restaurant champions local produce, foraged greens and seasonality…oh and did we mention the treacle bacon?
Words: Rachel Mantock
A majestic, African artwork dominates one of the walls of this stripped back, industrial restaurant, instantly catching my eye as I pushed open their heavy glass doors. I was swiftly shown to my driftwood-like table that was unusually high up yet comfortable nonetheless. Earl Grey tea was brought to me in a cutesy tea pot with a jar of sugar and milk, all mismatched and child’s tea set like – it was all so Pinterest worthy.
Their hash brown and chorizo with fried egg dish is instantly filling, with spicy tones jumping on top of more crispy, warm flavours that create a homely, comfort food feel. With my eyes being bigger than my stomach, I over ordered and had to make my way through a huge chocolate covered flapjack that was worth every second even though I was already full. Even my waitress fitted the setting perfectly, with a hipster-cool aesthetic and bright turquoise braids in her hair. She checked on me enough times to know when I needed something else and when I didn’t, without being super glued to my table, gawking over me like a hawk. Everything about this place is unpretentious, relaxed and slow enough to calm you down in a city that moves at such a fast pace.
The interior is stark white painted brickwork against old mismatched, school desk like tables and chairs, along with a worn, tanned leather sofa. Exposed beams crawl along the black ceiling and bizarre, zany artworks are splashed at various points on each wall. Teenage fashionistas were having a catch up to the right of me with city, corporate types having a meeting to the left of me, so their customers are a mix of everything and everyone, appealing to all types of people in different ways. Ask for Janice is also health conscious without being ridiculous, offering vegetarian options for many of their dishes without being gluten-free, diary-free, everything-free crazy.
It’s hard to do stripped back industrial well these days, because everyone and their pet dog are trying to emulate this tired look, causing it to become cliché and disingenuous. Yet, Ask for Janice carry this look perfectly, effortlessly and vibrantly, still retaining their individual identity without all the negative connotations that have come to be associated with this popular look. This restaurant is effortlessly brilliant, effortlessly cool and effortlessly relaxed – laid back chic in its purest form.
£15 -£20 for two courses not including drinks
Relaxation in a stripped back setting
What to eat…
Avocado, chilli and coriander on sourdough toast, followed by buttermilk pancakes, Somerset ricotta and berries
What to know…
Everything is deceptively filling, even their small portions
50-52 Long Lane Farringdon EC1A 9EJ; 020 7600 2255; askforjanice.co.uk