The warren of roads leading to Café Clock is filled with fragrant food stalls, all of which seemingly exist solely to whet your appetite. Inside, this funky three-story converted town house is filled with lots of little seating area and plenty of inspired design touches: a chandelier fashioned from bronze horns hovers over the dining room, a fish tank hides in one corner, local comic strips are hung in one room, a cluster of fezzes on a wall make up an unusual mosaic, and faded Arabic calligraphy is painted on to various dilapidated walls. Then there are, of course, the numerous vintage clocks that give the restaurant its name.
Once you’ve done your rounds of the 300-year-old building, taking obligatory pictures galore, settle into a nook and pore over the menu, courtesy Mike Richardson, former maître d’ of the celebrated Wolesley in London. The options are aplenty, with a good mix of things you might find yourself craving (quinoa and fried tofu, pancakes with caramelized bananas, all-day breakfast, and fresh smoothies) as well as more adventurous options (the camel burger is legendary).
Sure, this combination is an enticing draw to scads of tourists, but locals are known to flock here as well — we even started talking to two employees hanging out there on their day off. It’s easy to see why, thanks to the amiable staff and fabulous food (Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was a patron), but the café has also been a cultural gathering place. There are cooking classes at Clock Kitchen, weekly concerts, Arabic lessons, henna artists, oud workshops, and much more. You’ll also find a tiny, dark cinema in a graffiti-covered space, where free Arabic and foreign movies are played for the public.
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