It’s pretty hard to go wrong in Exmouth Market with regards to refreshments. For breakfast, coffee or brunch, Caravan (11-13 Exmouth Market) is your likely first port of call. Lunch or dinner options are plentiful, with the standouts being Medcalf (40 Exmouth Market) and the big brother / little sister Spanish Moor fusion combo Moro and Morito (34 – 36 Exmouth Market). Medcalf is an award winning independent bar and restaurant situated in a converted turn of the century butchers shop, described as a gem in the heart of Exmouth Market. Albert Medcalf opened his butchers shop in 1912 and became renowned for his top quality Angus beef, pike, wild salmon and game alongside the usual meats and poultry. The robust menu changes daily and has a distinctly British theme. Medcalf is recognised by the Michelin Guide and holds a Bib Gourmand – reflecting good cooking at moderate prices. Moro and Morito, founded by husband and wife team Sam and Sam Clark, is one of London’s hottest restaurants. The menu is inspired by a fusion of North African and Spanish flavours and traditions, creating a truly unique menu and atmosphere that is attracting a lot of attention. For drinks, the well established Café Kick (43 Exmouth Market) provides a chilled out atmosphere and a range of decent cocktails and bottled beers. For proper ales, the Exmouth Arms (23 Exmouth Market) is the best choice.
Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837) was England’s favourite performer during the Regency era. His fame sprang from his portrayal of Clown from the Harlequinade. Grimaldi developed and expanded the role, stamping it with his own personality to such an extent that clowns became known as “Joeys”. Even today, the style of white-faced make-up he popularised is still used, as are a few of his catchphrases. Grimaldi had the ideal start for an aspiring performer as his family were performers. However, his father was unconventional to the point of bizarre. The 60 year old Grimaldi Senior began an affair with one of his apprenticed teenage dancers who went on to give birth to Joseph. He beat his children and sometimes feigned death to see their reactions. One of Joseph’s sisters was left an additional £5 in their father’s will on the condition that she beheaded him after his death; she got her money. Joseph began learning his craft from the age of two. By 1781 he was on stage at Drury Lane. At the age of six he was already being mentioned in the newspapers and by nine, following his father’s death, he was the family’s main breadwinner. He left Drury Lane in the early 1800s, moving first to Covent Garden, then Sadler’s Wells. He also commanded large fees to appear outside London. Sadly, by the 1820s, his highly energetic performances had led to injuries which forced his retirement. He lived his remaining years alone, having outlived his wife and son, depressed and alcoholic.