I absolutely loved Upstairs at the Ten Bells when I was there last year and when I heard that Isaac McHale (one of the chefs from Upstairs at the Ten Bells and the Young Turks supper club before that) was setting up a restaurant, I just knew I had to try it.
The Clove Club10th August 2013
The Clove Club is situated in the former Shoreditch Town Hall, once thought of as the “grandest Vestry Hall in London” and there are still signs of its former self everywhere. The large windows and high ceilings make the restaurant feel much larger than it actually is and the stripped back décor may seem stark to some, but The Better Half and I absolutely loved it. Minimalist to the max. Although we did comment that it must get awfully cold in winter. But on a gorgeous sunny day with the light flooding into the room, tucked into a corner table out of the way, we found ourselves getting very comfortable indeed!
There is a no-choice 5 course menu and another menu showcasing all their made-in-house salumi’s too, which are hung out on the bar in all their glory for all to see. But we decided to go for the set menu which included 3 snacks and 3 courses for £35 – absolutely fantastic value. I was thrilled to see the Buttermilk fried chicken & pine salt on the list of snacks. We had these at Upstairs at the Ten Bells and they were phenomenal. Perfectly crisp and seasoned little nuggets of deliciousness. I noticed that someone at another table actually ordered these as a main course, they are that good! The second snack was Wood Pigeon & Ten Bells ketchup, the sausage and ketchup both being made in-house. I loved the smoky richness of the pigeon sausage, I just wish there was more of it. The final snack was Mantua melon & Sichuan pepper, a little strange addition in my opinion. I liked the spice that the pepper added to the sweet melon, but it kinda reminded me of something you would find on a menu in a little Italian trattoria. It just didn’t seem to go with everything else on the menu.
TBH ordered the Confit leg of Barbary duck, sweet Italian onions, pickled cherries and watercress for his main course. A beautiful looking dish that all went well together, but the meat was a little over cooked and dry. It could’ve done with a bit more sauce to alleviate the dryness of the duck; I am told that it was still very tasty.
For my main dish I chose Red Mullet, summer stew of broad beans, sweet corn and basil. It looked and tasted like summer on a plate. The fish was cooked perfectly and the bean stew added a nice sweet, refreshing flavour to the dish.
We decided to order one of each of the desserts to share. Baked meadowsweet custard and Tayberries was creamy but the sharp berry topping cut through that heaviness. There were definitely a few spoon battles over this dessert, it was really lovely. The second dessert was Ewes milk mousse, blackcurrant and crisp almond pastry. It was light and refreshing, a great end to a fantastic meal.
Service was cool and I really like that the chefs serve some of the dishes. You really get a sense of the love and effort that has gone into making each dish. The atmosphere of the restaurant was relaxed and even the chefs in the open plan kitchen seemed calm. It really is the kind of place that you could easily lose a good few hours in. Do yourself a favour and book a table. Quick!
Our total bill came to £100.00 including 2 glasses of wine, 2 beers and service.
Next up, I am having dinner with bestie at Flesh & Buns – the same people that brought us Bone Daddies. I am beside myself with excitement for this one.
Until we eat again!