Monday, 15 July 2013

Clove Club, London

I knew I was going to love the Clove Club. I’ve eaten Isaac McHale’s food before at a really special pop up event I went to in 2010. (Read about Elliot’s inVictoria Park Pop-Up on my old previous Foodie in London)
I think Isaac has a lovely way with food, a soft blending of ingredients and complimentary combinations without ever being too fussy or too try hard. He champions heritage and locally sourced UK produce.
Since Elliot’s, he’s been getting rave reviews for his pop up at The Ten Bells as part of the YoungTurks and now he’s launched a solo venture in Shoreditch Town Hall.
I’ve been vaguely keeping up with the rave reviews about this grand new spot apparently filled with a gorgeous ‘hipster’ crowd.
I may not be a hipster but I’ve certainly been knocking around the area for many years, way back when the Mother Bar was one of the only places open late night mid-week and when Breakfast Club still meant having your mates over for brunch in your kitchen. 
Anyway my point being, those intimidating hipsters weren’t about to put me off from walking through the door. In we went......

A Beautiful Night Out at the Clove Club, London
We had a drink at the central reservation bar and marvelled at the jambons and charcuterie hanging down one side – nice touch.
Actually the crowd to me seemed a mix of ages and types and not at all hipster.
We we’re taken through to the dining room, with Isaac busy in the open-plan kitchen at the front of the room, surrounded by sous chefs and waiters.

Our table was right at the back of the high-ceilinged room, which I loved as we could watch all of the action and we also had a handy little ledge to put our wine up on. 
I personally love a tasting menu. It adds an extra sense of occasion to an evening and it saves you having to choose your dishes – something that I always struggle with - as I am so indecisive.
First up were a trio of pre-menu bites. 

(Posh melon & ham)

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Pine Salt served on a bed of pine needles – which was soft and delicious.
Mantua Melon, Pancetta Cotto & Sichuan Pepper – our waiter described this as ‘posh’ melon and pancetta. I think he had forgotten the name.
Oak smoked Cod’s Roe on Rye – I loved this tiny little crispy cracker with a creamy cod topping.

Five larger courses followed:

Isaac MacHale, Clove Club Tasting Menu

We started with English Broad Beans, Marjoram, Lardo & Iced Goats Milk. OMG. Iced goat’s milk is such a great invention, the cold temperature really brings out it’s flavour and my hubby marvelled at how they had managed to get boring old broad beans to taste good.

Second course was Wild Irish Pollan, Green Tomatoes, Brown Butter & Dill – a beautiful, soft dish. The green tomatoes looked awesome and the fish was topped with tiny little rings of crispy onion.

Slow Roast Lincolnshire Chicken, Peas, Girolles & Garlic Scape – a hearty course but not heavy at all and I particularly liked the inclusion of the garlic scape.
I’m not sure if it’s Issac’s trademark but both times I’ve tried his menus, they have had two desserts in a row - double dessert. Love it!

First up was Kent Raspberries & Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Mousse – the description says it all. This was divine and included tuile and a delicious raspberry sorbet.
We had several different waiters serving up different courses throughout the night, which was really nice and informal and they were all chatty.

A new guy served up our fifth and final course and as he explained our Corsican Peach, Iced Tea Jelly & toasted almond Ice Cream – he divulged that this was a new dish, his own creation and that he would appreciate some feedback.
This then immediately descended into a drunken conversation, between myself and hubby, about which tact of feedback we would be taking.
Husband: “Just tell them it’s nice alright? Don’t give REAL feedback.”
Moi: “No, he wants feedback, so I’ll give him some. I think the peach is a little on the sour side, the biscuit is too soggy and dense.
Husband: “They don’t really want feedback, just tell them it’s really nice.”
Moi: “No I’ll be nice. I’ll also tell them the iced tea jelly is delicious and so is this ice cream. Yum.”
I should point out here that we were not just drunk off  one beverage at the bar but had already had a cocktail at Dishoom, two drinks at The Spread Eagle and were no two thirds of the way through a bottle of Portuguese Duas Pedras.

The plates were cleared. We fed back that the dessert was ‘very nice’.
We finished with an espresso and then giddily toddled out of our new favourite ‘club’.

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