Our first joint was The Clove Club this past Saturday night. Located in achingly hip Shoreditch (a newly opened Ace Hotel just down the street cements the fact) The Clove Club is situated in the Shoreditch Town Hall, which you can see above, is a bit of a looker. The Clove Club has a neat front bar area, offering bar seats and tables with an a la carte menu. First walking in from a chilly London night though, you are initially greeted with a closet full of cured meat, a positive sign in my book.
We were greeted quickly, jackets taken and whisked to our table in the back dining room. The benefit of the back room is that it is tasting menu only. For £55 you get five courses plus canapés and bread. By London standards, that is a fantastic value.
It should be noted before moving on that in my limited experience in this city, The Clove Club had the most attentive service I have received at any restaurant. Large staff, greeted quickly, drinks refilled without asking, plates removed efficiently and, a true shocker, every staff member said hello as we walked by on our way to the dining room. Where am I?
We began with some white wine from a small but thoughtful wine list. Multiple options under £30 and glasses started at £5.50. We received a copy of the menu and a separate salumi menu from their in house creations. We added the peppered pork shoulder for £6.50. The canapés arrived quickly, which included fennel sausage, red mullet tartare, Norwegian sea urchin, our salumi selection and local radishes with a Korean chili aioli and black sesame seeds. Everything was tasty, especially the fennel sausage and the pork shoulder, which was just sexy. The radishes were good but needed salt and the tartare could of used some acid, but still delicious.
The next course was pheasant roasted in hay with pheasant jelly, chestnut cream and cep vinaigrette. I enjoyed the dish, but the lukewarm temperature of the jelly threw Julie off. I gladly polished off the plate.
The fish course was Cornish sea bass, unbelievably moist with spinach and dollops of smoke roe sauce. The texture of the fish was amazing and I loved the smokiness from the roe. The lamb course quickly followed, paired with a shockingly smooth potato purée, cabbage and seaweed sauce poured table side. The lamb had a really strong game flavour and was well cooked.
The pre-dessert the favourite dish for both of us. Yogurt topped with dehydrated blood orange and a granita. Great texture with the granita and amazing use of temperature, with a cool yogurt, icy granita and warm dehydrated blood orange. I could have polished off five courses of just that dish and been happy.
For the finale, the server displays a whole apple tart tatin, which is then sliced and served with vanilla ice cream. Very tasty, but maybe a bit safe based on the rest of the menu.
As the bill arrived, we received a peated barley cake, fresh from the oven, along with two bon bons. The bon bons were filled with fernet branca and creme de menthe, or like I called it, the best after dinner mint ever. Thin candy shell and then, boom, liquid cocktail center. Smart.
All told, we spent £156, which included service and four glasses of wine. A great deal for the number of courses and the attention to detail. The fantastic service as well cannot be overlooked. The Clove Club: highly recommended.