I eat out a lot. My wife and my chins remind of this daily.
So I think this makes me an expert on the matter. 10,000 hours and all that.
I’m not saying I can cook. I’m not saying I’m a restaurant critic either. But I’ve seen the inside of enough restaurants to know when something is a truly original, inspiring and enjoyable experience.
Eating out in London recently has been the opposite. A blizzard of sameness – nondescript interiors, soulless atmospheres, unengaging staff, boring menus, overpriced wines.
It’s a hard life, I know.
Yet, that was all about to change as I stepped into the unassuming Clove Club in Shoreditch. Here life was in full flight – charming, friendly staff, knowledgeable and passionate about the food and drink, yet amusing, down-to-earth and completely unpretentious.
Feeling relaxed, I restricted myself to the 7 course menu. While I waited for the first course I drank in the buzzing atmosphere, the busy open plan kitchen, the chink of glasses, the rasp of laughter. This was a place to enjoy yourself to the full.
When the food arrived, it was sublime. Sumptuous Kentucky Fried Chicken a million miles from the fat-drenched, cardboard, high street version. Melt in the mouth mackerel. Mouthwatering venison trio, stunning pheasant cup-a-soup. Momentous burnt mandarin.
I eat out a lot. But that means it takes a lot to really make the taste buds sing.
At the Clove Club, all those bland, faceless London restaurants faded away.
It was just them and me and the incredible cuisine.
And it was delicious.