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The scene This newly opened restaurant on Exmouth Market has loads going for it: top food; a great, lively atmosphere; rustic, odd-chaired decor; an open kitchen giving it laid-back personality; and passionate and friendly staff. Its potato-based menu (they’re in pretty much everything on the board) means it’s going to be carb-heavy, but this indulgence just makes it even more of a delicious treat. 

The grub Starters, mains and desserts are all based on the underground-dwelling little pomme de terres. Merchant crisps, potato soup, black pudding croquettes – these are some of the appetisers to get you in the mood. I opt for the rabbit terrine starter, which is top drawer.

Mains include flank steak, red gurnard, lamb stew or duck confit and all come with a choice of nine accompanying spuds: mash, Jersey royal, dauphinoise, boulangère, Anna, juniper pancake, French fries, beef dripping chips and patatas bravas. Purely in the interest of providing you with as comprehensive a view of the menu as possible, my dining companions and I sampled them all.

The verdict returned that all were ace: dauphinoise was for the calorie-loving carb-hound, and the Anna was crowned our fave. A tater-infused lemon drizzle cake was a winning final round offering, with the bread and butter – and potato! – pudding triumphing in the dessert contest, if only by a whisker.

If you don’t fancy it, you can opt for a potato-free salad option, but why would you?

Behind the bar English wines feature on the menu, but we decided to go with crisp Tantehue sauvignon blanc. 

Bill please Starters from £2.50; mains from £10.50; potato sides £3.50; desserts from £4.50. Beers from £4; wine from £3.80/ £23 per glass/ bottle.

Verdict Simple intent carried off with panache, this is a fun, lively and inventive evening’s dining, as well as being open for weekday brekkie bites, lunch and weekend brunches. You’ll want to ditch the Tube home though in favour of a brisk walk to churn off all those calories. 

55 Exmouth Market,
Clerkenwell, EC1R 4QL  
Tube | Farringdon  
thepotatomerchant.com


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The Potato Merchant - restaurant review: A fun, lively and inventive dining experience
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