The Clove Club One of Londons best

January 4, 2016

I eat out a lot. My waistline and selection of chins will testify as such, but I have found of late that many of London’s fine dining establishments especially in the West End are blending into one another with non-descript interiors, soulless atmospheres, instantly forgetful staff, boring menus and overpriced wine. So it was with much excitement that I frequented the much talked about Clove Club in Shoreditch just before Christmas with two friends, one of which has never ventured far from Mayfair and the other eats out more than me – his waistline testifies the same! And quite simply, what an absolute pleasure and joy it was. Let’s get over the first hurdle – you have to pre-pay.

So what? If you are intending to be a no-show, then you should not book to go in the first place. That is that dealt with. The restaurant is unassuming – a door in the town hall, and when you arrive it is all industrial and East End, staff in aprons and the mandatory Shoreditch beards dotted around the place, but don’t let that stop you. Front of house were lovely. Pleasant and receptive and happy to have a bit of banter. An honest barmen who knew his stuff and a waitress who was just lovely. Charming and friendly, knowledgeable about the food and never afraid of a bit of banter – that word again. So what about the food you ask. It is a small restaurant but buzzing.

The open kitchen is in your face, and the brigade are busy, busy, busy but a joy to watch. There’s a sauce being made here, a venison sausage being sliced there and little bits of culinary magic everywhere. 7 courses starts with “nibbles”, 3 little dishes of mouth blowing flavours. Who knew Kentucky Fried Chicken could taste that good! In no particular order, the seared mackerel was sublime, the venison trio was memorable, the pheasant cup-a-soup was stunning and the burnt mandarin was a revelation.

The only downside, if there was one,  was that the wine pairings were a bit hit and miss. When they were good, they were good….you know the rest. In the current climate, where many restaurants offer a faceless service and treat you as a faceless customer it was pure delight to be made welcome, treated like you mattered, eat simply stunning food and pay a lot of money but felt it was worth every penny. I loved The Clove Club. I loved the experience and I loved the bants!

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