Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Clove Club

An unusual food adventure in Shoreditch


The Clove Club in Shoreditch Town Hall is one of the most talked about openings in London earlier this year, with a no choice tasting menu of 3 mini appetizers followed by 6 courses. The cooking is all about avant garde, with a heavy focus on seasonal British ingredients and the raw flavours within. Not necessarily a fresh concept but The Clove Club managed to stamp its own mark with a very interesting outcome. We visited on a busy Thursday evening after some pre-dinner drinks at Happiness Forget, the d├ęcor in The Clove Club is not your average restaurant setting, with it's high ceiling, open kitchen and wooden tables. 
The Clove Club
Open kitchen


To start off the meal we were given three plates of small appetizers, the buttermilk fried chicken with pine salt was nicely fried and the radishes with black sesame and gochuchang were also done to a high level, settle and clean in taste with lovely oriental flavours from the supporting ingredients. Not sure about the wood pigeon sausage with greengage ketchup however, tasted fairly average with not much earthly and dedicated taste I expected from the pigeon meat.
bread
buttermilk fried chicken
 radishes with black sesame and gochuchang
pigeon sausage

This was followed by flamed grilled mackerel tartare, the English mustard with mackerel, a classic combination but The Clove Club version with the extra gooseberry in the mix added a nice sweetness and freshness to the rich flavours in the tartare. Next, BBQ squid and runner beans had a wonderful smooth and soft texture with the anchovies and the mint delivering a nice hint of bitterness and sourness, a very nice plate of multiple flavours. 
flamed grilled mackerel tartare
BBQ squid and runner beans

Last savoury dish of the evening: Yorkshire grouse was one of the most challenging dishes I've had this year, it was close to rare, the meat was really tender and earthy, the golden turnip gave the dish a layer of thickness but the bread sauce and elderberries didn't really add anything extra for me. The waiter then gave us a little surprise with the grouse legs, heart and the bone on a separate plate for us to taste, the heart wasn't an issue at all and I really enjoyed the interesting texture and that tiny hint of bitterness. However the lower part of the legs were completely raw and still had feathers attached, it was just a step too far for me!
Yorkshire grouse
Yorkshire grouse legs and hearts...

For the sweet course, it was blackcurrant leaf ice cream, jelly and beremeal. The blackcurrant leaf gave the dish a really refreshing herbal aroma, the ice cream wasn't overly sweet and really enjoyed the dashes of beremeal with its grainy crunchy texture. The baked damson kernal custard was one of the nicest custards I've had, the warm settled sweet taste reminds me custard can be just as exceptional as other more luxury desserts if done correctly. We finished off the evening with some seasonal British cheese.
blackcurrant leaf ice cream, jelly and beremeal 
baked damson kernal custard
cheese

In the end, I found the food at The Clove Club is one of those experiences you either love or hate affairs. I didn't get some of the dishes but on the other hand, the rest were delightful and especially the squid dish. Price wise it was reasonable with £48 for the tasting menu. The Clove Club gave me one of the most unusual dinner experiences in London this year and I would be very interested to keep a close eye on it to see how it progresses in the future.

Food 4/5

Executive chef: 
Isaac Mchale

What I paid: 
£70 per head with 2 glass of wine

Average cost without drinks and services:
£35 lunch menu
£55 tasting menu


Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, Greater London EC1V 9LT


http://thecloveclub.com/


The Clove Club on Urbanspoon

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