This all-day restaurant and wine bar comes from the team behind Bethnal Green’s Sager + Wilde. At first glance, Fare seems like a pretty casual operation, with the buzzy ground-floor bar the only thing visible to passers-by. However, the basement dining room is where you’ll find the real action, in an industrial-chic space which is made rather romantic thanks to candles on tables and foliage hanging from the walls.
The regularly changing menu reads simply – ‘smoked anchovies, pickled peppers’ – but there is hidden depth and complexity to these dishes. Take the puffy, charcoal-grilled sesame bread, which is presented half folded over like a calzone, and paired with a blob of thick-set curd and slices of pickled carrots to mop up. Elsewhere, a meaty, lamb-flecked beef kofte is perfectly paired with its bed of hummus, and a smattering of crunchy chickpeas which create a perfect balance of textures.
The best thing we ate was the supremely tender lamb shoulder, with the succulent meat complemented by a mush of courgettes and garlic, and served with more charcoal-grilled bread (bread is part of practically every dish at Fare).
A 250-strong wine list is the stuff of an oenophile’s dreams, while you can pair one of the sweeter wines with a dessert such as a golden, sugar-dusted doughnut concealing chunks of pear, and teamed with a deliciously naughty dark chocolate sorbet. Service is occasionally forgetful, but fair prices and a cosy atmosphere make Fare a welcome addition to Old Street’s thriving restaurant scene.