Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Clove Club

Having read very positive things about Isaac McHale's latest venture (one of the 3 Young turks), The Clove Club has been top of my list of places to try since it's opening early this year.

I finally made it a couple of weekends ago for Saturday lunch.  The venue is pretty grand, 2 rooms in the Shoreditch Town Hall on Old St, some have criticized the hipster crowd but I found it inoffensive.  1 room houses the restaurant, and the bar resides in the main room which is where we ate on this occasion.  I was keen to try to the tasting menu but it's evenings and restaurant only.  Instead, we ordered pretty much 1 of everything and created our own.

Their famed dish the buttermilk fried chicken with pine arrived first and didn't disappoint.  Loved it, there's a faint hint of pine in the salty exterior.  Would be nice to have found a couple more pieces lurking in the pine leaves for £6.50. 

Next came another dish with which I was familiar from tales of the tasting menu, the radishes with black sesame and gochuchang (£4.50).  Look how pretty it is!  The colours and the flavours are incredible.  The peppery radish with the creamy gochuchang (a Korean condiment here made into a milder dipping sauce) and sprinkled with salty sesame, the leaves are edible too, we were told, we didn't know.  Our waitress helped us out.  Another brilliant dish.

Then came the wood pigeon sausage.  Expensive at £9, and probably the dish I was least keen on, a gamey rich taste and quite chunky texture, the ten bells ketchup was lively but we weren't wowed by this, Thomas pointed out there's no real need to jazz up tomato sauce, I'm inclined to agree, and I got a bit of shot.

Anyway, onwards and upwards to the charcuterie plate and the olives.  The Home cured meat selection was the priciest dish of the day at £14 for a bit of fennel salami and Old Spot coppa, it arrived with the picholine olives, £3.50, a wholly unnecessary order to be honest. 

The most memorable dish for me was the next arrival, the smoked cod's roe with fennel and rye crackers (£7.50).  It's basically perfection on a plate, the smokey and soft fish paste with the crunch and aniseed fragrance from the fennel and tops, scooped up with the slightly sweet, delicate crackers.  It's genius and the crackers are an absolute revelation.  They make them on site of course. 

Also brilliant was the chicory with hazelnut and mustard (£4.50).  The nuts clinging to the tips of the bitter leaves via yoghurt and sprinkled with chopped chives.  Simple but excellent and another favourite.

Also worth mentioning are the bread selection (£3), white and brown, served with butter and the salad of kohlrabi and bitter leaves with elderflowers which was very fresh and excellently dressed (£6.50).

We finished off by sharing a sweet, strawberries and cream (£6), again a very elegant looking dish, vibrant colours and flavours with crunchy sugar crisps and strawberry various ways.  

Then we finished off with a cheese plate, mimolette and a blue, which I forget the name of but both were a fine end to the meal.

We drank a couple of cocktails and a Kentish sparkling rose called Herbert Hall.  I can't rave about the meal enough really, on the surface fairly simple yet all but one of the dishes were outstanding and I cannot wait to return.  We booked but there were plenty of tables available.  If you eat in the bar I would wholly recommend ordering as we did and avoiding the larger plates, 3 were available on the day I visited, but ordering multiple smaller plates means you can try more things.  A great way to dine.  Service was incredibly friendly and relaxed, I love what they're doing here and I hope they continue to go from strength to strength.  I just spotted this recent praise from The Huffington Post, so word is out, get down there.

The Clove Club
Shoreditch Town Hall
Old St

The Clove Club on Urbanspoon

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