Well hasn’t this been a long, hot summer? Between unbearable tube journeys and weekend heatwaves, we’ve had a proper sizzler on our hands. So when I was sat in Ask For Janice watching my dinner date park up his bike across the road and perform a quick t-shirt swap, I was strangely unsurprised. Because no one wants a sweaty cyclist rocking up to a restaurant.
Nestled between Barbican and Chancery Lane, Ask For Janice sits opposite the iconic Smithfield Market. I’d been here before, for tipsy pancakes after a few drinks at Oriole down the road. But this time was much more refined… cue outfit change. Even on a Wednesday, the place was packed. Good luck getting in without a reservation, because Farringdon locals really seem to be hungry for the foraged greens and craft beers in über cool surroundings.
Gearing myself up for the pisco club that I’d spotted when having a peek of the menu earlier, I was disappointed to discover that the bar was actually unable to make it. Instead, I begrudgingly ordered the rhubarb & rosemary paloma (£9) only to find that this short sip was a beautifully tart number. An inconspicuous concoction of tequila, grapefruit, lime, agave and the housemade rhubarb and rosemary sherbet, it was a substitute that raised no complaints.
As my dinner date inhaled his Wild Beer Co pale ale (£5.70), we made our way through the menu. Not only is he a sweaty cyclist, but he’s also veggie so that meant we were in for a plant-based spread. Skipping the drool-worthy slow-cooked chorizo and pork belly, we started with AFJ’s signature labneh (£4.50) and flatbread (£1.80). Because this isn’t any yoghurt… it’s an unmissable creamy mix dappled with smoked sea salt and herbs.
Veggie flatbread saw wisps of soft courgette layered with feta and greens. It may have looked pretty but it a lack of flavour left us underwhelmed. Thank god for the London burrata (£7.50); a saving grace centred on a creamy blob of that of-the-moment cheese perfectly undercut by mint and punchy pickled watermelon that enveloped my mouth with a kick-ass tang.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Ask For Janice may lie in Farringdon, but it’s got a real Shoreditch vibe about it. It's cool and collected, yet bustling at the same time. Whether you came for the tasty small plates or just need to get your after-work drink fix, you can rest assured that you'll be in good hands here, and with an atmosphere that'll make you want to stay past closing.