LDNReview

photo credit: Ken's

The interior of Ken's with cured meats and wine glasses on the table
7.5

Ken's

European

Clerkenwell

$$$$Perfect For:Feeling HotEating At The BarPeople WatchingSee And Be SeenDrinking Good Wine
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It’s easy to see why Ken’s is always packed out, even if the food is so-so. The wine bar and European restaurant occupies a buzzy centre spot on Exmouth Market. Seats spill onto the street and the crowd has a sixth sense for places they look best drinking orange wine in branded caps, and will likely take a surreptitious photo of the edge of the ‘pisslist’ to upload to their socials later. Which is to say, you could complete an east London wine bar bingo card here—distressed walls, melting candles, mismatched plates, anchovies, people in fisherman beanies. 

The interior of Ken's with wooden tables and a bar on the left hand side.

photo credit: Ken's

If this isn’t your scene, the wine descriptions on the blackboard will irritate you (see: ‘fun skinsys’ and ‘serious orange wine’), as will disappointing dishes. A roasted pumpkin dish dotted with ricotta is tasty but underwhelming. The iberico pork is flavoursome, with a nice charred crust, but it comes with half a torched onion and a dollop of celeriac purée which doesn’t feel like a complete dish, especially considering that this is described as a ‘main’ and there are no sides to order.

The interior of Ken's with anchovies and cured meat dishes on a white tablecloth

photo credit: Ken's

Ken's image

photo credit: Ken's

The exterior of Ken's with a striped awning and wooden tables outside.

photo credit: Ken's

The interior of Ken's with anchovies and cured meat dishes on a white tablecloth
Ken's image
The exterior of Ken's with a striped awning and wooden tables outside.

But overly runny chocolate mousses and slow service are all but forgotten when dates lock eyes across snug, candlelit tables. Ken’s is good if you're looking for somewhere to sit at the bar with an easy-drinking glass of red, laughing with a friend over an easy-listening jazz playlist, while you give your new Sézane shirt its first outing. But if you want the food to be more than an expensive accessory to a fun evening out, head somewhere else.

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