Clerkenwell Boy’s top three BYO restaurants


In the kitchen at The Quality Chop House. Photograph: Patricia Niven

In the kitchen at The Quality Chop House. Photograph: Patricia Niven

Here London foodie and Instagrammer extraordinaire, Clerkenwell Boy, recommends his favourite wine-friendly restaurants, the establishments which allow diners to bring a cherished bottle (or two) with them.

Have you got that special bottle at home but haven’t quite found the right occasion to crack it open yet? Why not ditch the fridge-buffet and treat yourself to a nice meal out instead – all without having to break the bank. It may sound too good to be true, but here are my top three BYO places in London where you’ll be able to enjoy a fantastic meal and that special bottle of wine too.

The Quality Chop House

Originally opened in 1869, The Quality Chop House on Farringdon Road (near Exmouth Market) was lovingly restored a few years ago into a classy dining room and wine bar – with the recent addition of a butchers and shop next door. It has fast become a favourite amongst locals and London foodies – serving up seasonal British produce and homely dishes but elevated to the next level. The menu changes daily, however there are some classics that often make a regular appearance. Galloway mince on dripping toast is perfect for a wintery night. When in season, the roasted game birds come with a restorative game tea, game pie, game chips and game liver parfait. Even the humble potato reaches epic new heights at the hands of chef Shaun Searley: those confit potatoes (probably one of London’s most Instagrammed dishes) are a must order. The Quality Chop House has a fantastic no corkage policy on Mondays (which is sadly suspended during December, but perfect for tackling January-to-November blues).

Rochelle Canteen

Hidden away behind a wall on the south-east corner of Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, this charming restaurant is housed in a converted old school bike shed, overlooking a grassy playground. There is outdoor seating too – which is perfect for sunny spring and summer days. The food showcases seasonal British ingredients, often with Mediterranean influences. Popular dishes include the roasted duck leg with lentils and aïoli, meatballs and soft polenta, quince and apple crumble. As they are not licensed, you can bring your own wine for a small corkage charge (£6.50). Sadly they are only open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Friday – but I feel this adds to the uniqueness of the place.

The Golden Hind

Is there anything better than fresh flaky fish, a light and crispy grease-free batter, served with chunky chips and mushy peas? Established in 1914, The Golden Hind in Marylebone is a casual neighbourhood shop and extremely popular with locals and tourists – as the kitchen uses sustainable British fish and the servings are quite generous. They don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own wine (no corkage fee).

73 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN / 020 7486 3644