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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Giant Robot, Clerkenwell

Having lost The East Rooms to an inferno in March, Jonathon (Milk & Honey) Downey replicates his deceased dining club’s quirky 1950’s/ post industrial interior at buzzy new all-day bar/ deli/ diner, at summer 2010 hit, Giant Robot. The sharply-executed Kennedy-era, downtown Brooklyn tribute is pulling local creatives in numbers with its Italo-American cooking a list of punchy cocktails that reference Madison Ave (New York sour) & Rome’s via Veneto (piazza limonata, one of several Martini coolers). The kitchen’s ‘obsession’ with fresh quality ingredients pays off in crisp crostini topped with goat's cheese, anchovy & ‘eggplant’, eccentrically priced at 94p each; crunchy red chicory, walnut & gorgonzola salad; glistening ruby red seared tuna medallions on a pillow of fennel & coriander; fresh grilled sardines with authentic gremolata. Tony Soprano might prefer more muscular grub: guanciale (pig’s cheek bacon) on olive & spring onion mash; salt beef with beetroot & poached egg; winter warmer cotechino (Modena pork sausage), pancetta, lentils, onion, carrots & salsa verde or a selection of pasta dishes & meatballs either as a main served with spaghetti, or as so-now bite-sized ‘sliders’ in mini buns. Puds are gelataria joy: affogato, flaming baked Alaska & ice cream sandwich. Arrive between 5 &  7pm & enjoy the ‘staff meal’ for a fiver, one of several cute touches. Wines are mostly Italian:  Frascati, by the carafe, about right at £13.50. Dishes arrive simultaneously - cue an irksome table ballet to be choreographed. A slightly too tricksy format proves initially discombobulating. This aside, fresh food & funky ambience justify Robot’s giant following .  
45 Clerkenwell Rd EC1 7065 6810