THE original hole in the wall was marked with the metal face of a cat in Holborn through which a pipe would dispense shots of gin. In homage to this, the great restaurateurs George Perry Smith and Joyce Molyneux named their Bath restaurant which was a sort of hole in the arched pavement but led to a grand room and was the most famous restaurant outside of London in the ’50s and ’60s.
Small magical places have always manage to bring a sense of romance to the hospitality industry as if they are in some way purer, more exact, the perfect abstract.
Dragonfly is not quite a hole in the wall accounting for perhaps 20 seats plus perpetual lunchtime queue in a sidestreet near the Waitrose in Clerkenwell. The menu is beautifully deconstructed. It is pho – flat noodles – or spicy bun – round noodles in broth which it claims is 48 hours rich.. Or you can have it without broth or on rice in place of noodles. Or in a sandwich as a messy, addictive bahn mi.
Cash only. No web site just a Deliveroo link which I notice is a bit more expensive dish to dish, bun being £8.50 which is £2 more than in situ but if you are in the catchment area you could order a fine takeaway. I can vouch for the papaya salad too. On that basis Deliveroo is making more money than the restaurant itself.
71 Compton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0BN 0207 251 9090