Rochelle School Canteen
Arnold Circus E2
020 7729 5677; www.arnoldandhenderson.com
From the street, the only sign that there might be somewhere to eat in this former primary school is the typewritten word "Canteen" next to one of the buzzers (the bottom-right-hand buzzer-the last one you would look at) outside the Boys' gate.
If you're lucky enough to hear the gate unlock (the Canteen is open only on weekday lunchtimes), when you step through, you'll see a beautiful lawn, wooden tables, chairs and benches in the sunshine, and a bike shed that has been converted into a restaurant. The school is now used for studio space, so there might be some well dressed artists on their lunch break. The owners, Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson, are married to Jon Spiteri and chef Fergus Henderson, respectively, who started the renowned St. John restaurant, and Rochelle Canteen has many of the same impeccable qualities: nose-to-tail eating, with fresh ingredients and simple dishes. Everything on the menu is good, but I'm always drawn back to the purple sprouting broccoli with anchovy, their pies for two, and the chocolate pot.
Joe Dunthorne was born in Swansea in 1982. He is the author of a poetry pamphlet, Faber New Poets 5, and a novel, Submarine, which won the Curtis Brown Prize and is being made into a film by Warp Films. He currently lives in London and is a striker for the England Writers' Football Team.