TimmyC and I got cocky. We had only just arrived in London and we thought we had the Underground system worked out. Then we got off at the wrong stop which delayed us getting to our 7pm booking at The Clove Club. Between nerves of missing our booking and hunger, I told TimmyC that we should just get off at the closest stop we can and taxi the rest of the way there, I didn’t have time to change lines and then add a stroll in between to get there.
We arrived a tad late but all the scurrying was quickly forgotten after a doorman opened the door and we are happily greeted and seated, which closely followed by a hot towel to wipe away the city and to start our dinner.We were congratulated on our honeymoon by several servers who came to check on us, we had written it was a special occasion when we booked online months ago and it was nice that they remembered. They clarified again if we had any particular dislikes or allergies and we assured them we would try anything and everything. For an extra element of surprise, we opted not to have a menu on the table to keep us on our toes.
We asked if it was okay to set up a GoPro to take a time lapse of our entire meal and they didn’t have a problem. We conveniently had a little window sill to perch it on too.
We were all set up and ready to go!We really enjoyed our dinner but there were too many dishes to go through, so I’ll just comment on the exceptional ones that I adored or really surprised me.
Dining room (£110 pp) plus one soft pairing (£30.00 pp). A discretionary 12.5% service was also added to the final bill.
I was initially writing notes on my phone but the waitress informed me that we would get a menu at the end of the night so I wouldn’t have to. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the soft pairings listed and they didn’t have it on record so I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they were. It was a combination of tea and fruit and vegetable juice, one of which was served through a whipping siphon to make it ‘bubbly’. TimmyC and I agreed that the juice paired with the langoustine was sublime.TimmyC also ordered a G+T using a local gin called Sacred gin (£10.50).
-A Selection of Snacks to Start-
Beetroot gazpacho with walnut oil Mackerel on a spinach and parsley leafButtermilk fried chicken with pine salt – My oh my! Could this possibly be the best fried chicken I have ever eaten? It was moist and succulent while having a really crunchy exterior with the perfect amount of seasoning. I would have fought TimmyC for his piece if he didn’t finish his serve before I did. Apparently, you can also order this at the bar and it is a menu favourite.Warm haggis buns – This really surprised me as the name really put me off, but I rather enjoyed this. It reminded me a lot of a ‘ham sui gok’ as it had a somewhat crispy outer coating with a savoury filling.
Hay Smoked Trout Tartare, Jersey Royal Potato & Sansho (with a spoonful of Petrossian Caviar £15 Supplement). Sure, add approximately $25 AUD of caviar to one of my courses, I’m on holiday! You can’t go to London and not have fish and chips 😉 This didn’t have a ‘fishy’ taste at all because it was so fresh. I loved the texture contrast between the meaty fish, crunchy chips and trying to pop all the caviar in my mouth.Scottish Langoustine Tail, Charcoal Cream & Devilled Spices – We were a bit confused about how to eat this as there was no cutlery; our server said to pick it up, dip it and eat it. This was incredible as it looked very simple but the flavours were clean and sooooooo tasty. The sweet meat of the langoustine was complimented by the cream rather than drowning out the natural flavours. This was TimmyC’s favourite dish of the meal.Spring Herb & Smoked Herring Broth. This reminded me of an Asian fried fish ball in a broth with crunchy vegetables. It was lovely to receive bread and butter with a serve of smoked salt (not pictured) to add to our liking. I’m glad it was only a small portion as we had many more courses to get through. Hazelwood Grilled Pollock, Grelot Onion, Cinnamon & Curry LeafSlow Cooked Suckling Lamb, English Asparagus & Sleightlett
We were getting the details on how the lamb was prepared and where it was from etc.Just adding the finishing touches.Duck, Morel & Ginger Consommé and Hundred Year Old Madeira – I have eaten a lot of courses in my life (my hips don’t lie) but I have never had a liquid course, so I thought it was really interesting when the server came to our table with wine glasses and two bottles. We were given a nip of the 100 Year Old Madeira and it sure did warm the chest and clear the nostrils; it is incredible to think that it was aged for so long. We were then given more Madeira with a generous swig of duck consommé and it transferred the broth into a rich soup with lots of depth without the harsh alcoholic burn.100 Day Old Lincolnshire Chicken, Morels Broad Bean & Ramson
A selection of British cheeses (£10.00?). I didn’t catch what they were but man, that soft cheese on the right was very pungent and I could not finish it, although I didn’t mind it in small doses with the jelly. I particularly enjoyed the house made crackers.Burnt Clementine Sorbet & Spiced Meringue. I could not get enough of this; for someone that doesn’t have an overly sweet tooth, it was the perfect amount of sweetness and they were very generous with the meringue. It acted like a palette cleanser to ease you into the sweeter side of the menu. The dessert was served in a burnt clementine skin and not meant for eating.Yorkshire Rhubarb, Sheep’s Milk Yoghurt & Rose. I loved how incredibly crunchy and delicate the disc was. Don’t try and eat all the components separately (especially the tart rhubarb), have a little bit of everything in each bite and it is perfect.
-Petit fours-Wheat cakesDulce de leche truffle a decadent truffle with the world’s favourite filling.Digestive these were oh so delicate. TimmyC had his first and said the outer layer instantly melted away, leaving the liquid centre to ‘burst’ in his mouth. I then tried mine, I was in the middle of asking him how long does it take to burst when my eyes just widened. There it was!
The funniest thing happened as we were about to leave.
I had been watching Isaac McHale and his team doing their thing in the open kitchen and I thought to myself, do we even try and ask for a photo? Or when would even be an appropriate time? I decided we wouldn’t try and just to enjoy the meal.
I went to the bathroom for one last time before we had to go on a 45 minute trek back to the hotel, TimmyC waited for me at the bustling bar where one of the front of house staff was talking to Isaac. As I was putting on my millions of layers, the front of house woman asked if we were the couple who had set up a video of our whole meal and we started talking about how to exchange details so they could see the finished product.
I then asked if Isaac had enjoyed his time in Australia knowing he attended the awards in Melbourne and one thing lead to another and I asked for a photo with him. He said that the lighting was better in the kitchen and off we went. He shooed the other chefs away (lucky it was towards the end of service) and gave our camera to someone to take our photo. We talked more about our meal afterwards and he was just such a lovely down to earth guy.
Of course they would take our photo, but not without a selfie first! I love this photo haha.Just getting our photo with Isaac McHale in the kitchen of The Clove Club while the other chefs patiently wait to get back to work- no biggie (omg omg omg!)
Meal duration: 4 hours
Overall food and menu: I was impressed with the variety of protein in the menu and how locally sourced a lot of the ingredients were. No crazy theatrics here, just showing off UK and surrounding region’s finest produce.
My favourite: Somewhere between the Buttermilk fried chicken with pine salt or the Duck, Morel & Ginger Consommé and Hundred Year Old Madeira
TimmyC’s favourite: Scottish Langoustine Tail, Charcoal Cream & Devilled Spices
Toilets: I thought I’d give this a mention as it was really unusual to head down a really steep set of stairs (girls in heels beware), to an old school toilet complete with a chain lever.
Atmosphere: The restaurant had an unpretentious vibe and people were just there to have a good time with fantastic food while being able to still have a conversation as the dining room was intimate. Having the open kitchen allowed the diners to peer into all the workings of each dish.
Staff: It felt like we met the whole front of house as well as the chefs, as a different person introduced each dish. It was good to see the diversity among the staff and everyone’s knowledge on the menu was impeccable.
Venue: The Clove Club
Address: Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London
World’s 50 Best ranking (2017): #26