Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Clove Club Climax

The Clove Club  @TheCloveClub
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT

This is one clove club that won't leave your mouth numb, but after this meal you'll still be drooling. Taking permanent residence in the beautifully restored Shoreditch Town Hall is The Clove Club, set up by 'St.Vibes' after their successful stint (still ongoing) in Upstairs at The Ten Bells. With reviews from 'Upstairs at..' still scintillatingly superlative it seemed a no brainer to book in for their new place before it became impossible to get a table. The Clove Club is split up into 2 areas: the bar, with a great selection of beers, wines and bar food, and then the restaurant itself with open kitchen serving up the '5' course meal. At £46, it may seem like a lot.. but believe me, it was worth it.

Apparently a booking at 7 is far too early for this part of town, we were affronted with the bar mostly to ourselves. After a couple of glasses of the Macon Chardonnay (£5 a glass) we went through to have the restaurant as the first diners of the night. With high ceilings and kitchen so close the dining area this really is an engaging dining experience. The attention to detail is clear, the room and tables are layed out to perfection, cutlery and even staff aprons are bespoke. The staff are engaging and very courteous. But now to get a glance at the menu which simply put is two 'starters', the main show and two 'desserts'. Of course there is much more to it than that but that's your choice, no a la carte.

Radishes, Seasame & Gochuchang
To start with are a few dishes of Kohlrabi, sunflower and mint, picco salumi and radishes, sesame & Gochuchang. The radish dish is outstanding with the Korean influence of the hot pepper paste in mayo brings together the soil like sesame powder with the radishes. These guys really know their flavour combinations. The salumi is soo moreish with a strong background of rosemary. These come as sharing dishes and are a great start to the meal.
Fennel, seaweed & walnuts
For the first course was warm fennel, walnut & seaweed with creme fraiche. As soon as it is put down it gives a kick to the olfactory with the smell of the seaside, from the seaweed. It was a dish of opposing textures and temperatures was pleasant  but I wasn't overawed by it

The leeks dish was the first of a few that really stoked my culinary fire. Beautifully presented the smoked mussels lined up along the top of a leek, the finest spinach puree. It was a rich dish; proper indulgence!

Picure does not do the beef justice - sorry
The red ruby beef with ransom and potatoes was outstanding I could easily had a couple of these. Again, while there is a lot of technique on display it's not over complicated, flavours are clean with everything coming together in one 'eye rolling inducing' mouthful. The roast rib of ruby red beef was so damn good, a result of great british produce. It was at this moment it was pointed out that I have a 'food face', while in my element which is no doubt akin to a child opening presents at Christmas. Either way I was in my own little bliss. The attention to detail is apparent with even the steak knives embossed with the Clove Club logo.

Next up was the warm cider and ginger mousse, after a rich mains this was beautiful palate cleanser. Clearly had an effect on Kimi didn't hold back in saying 'That was my favourite dish so far' to the waitress who simply stated '...just wait until the next one'.
And fair to say it didn't disappoint. 'Blood orange, sheep's milk mousse & wild fennel' on paper seems like a fairly simple was anything but. With blood orange jelly like a exquisite fruit roll up, fennel granita, sheep's milk mousse, powerful dehydrated blood orange, and milk wafers, have I missed anything? While there is a lot going on it really works, although the aniseed from the fennel seems diluted out in the granita. The wafers literally dissolve on your tongue. 
The meal was wrapped up with a little chicory tea cake with tea from the rare tea company

Being part frugal Scot I'm not someone who parts quickly with my money, but this was worth every penny. Portions are of decent size, unlike some taster menus you definitely will not leave hungry. The venue & menu is stunning, staff are a delight. Their experience from stints in places such as Noma and the Ledbury is clear, but they really put their own stamp on the food they serve. The only dish that didn't really inspire me much was the fennel, and that maybe due to my lack of zest for seaweed. That said the appreciation for the others is more than clear, this is the best meal I've had in a while. If you haven't already booked up I suggest you get a move on. I got an urge now to go back for the bar food.
Come hungry. Eat. Drink. Enjoy.

- Owen

Tel: 0207 7296496

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  1. Nicely written; I was there on Monday evening too, and heartily agree with your review. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I would also agree. Some of the dishes are ok and others are astonishing. The best thing about the set menu is that it makes you try dishes you might otherwise not choose and some of these are a revaluation. The service is pitched at just the right level and despite a variety of dietary requirements the staff made us feel lime it was no trouble to accommodate us


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