We have been waiting patiently for one of the hottest openings of the year. March brought us the highly anticipated opening of The Clove Club in the rather iconic and impressive Shoreditch Town Hall building. The Clove Club had a lot of expectation to live up to with the team having made quite a name for themselves in their previous ventures.
The Clove Club is both bar and restaurant. There are two spaces; a bar that serves a small bespoke cocktail list, wine and beer offerings, alongside an interesting and creative bar menu. The atmosphere seemed quite chilled and surprisingly unpretentious. Then there is a canteen style restaurant in a bright white space with a high ceiling and open kitchen. The space is quite stark and cold, this might be to keep focus on the dishes or on the open plan kitchen. Although, I am not sure that it doesn’t feel a little too bleak for my taste.
The food is modern British and seasonal. It’s on trend with colourful dishes. The set menu gives it the feel of a supper club yet the knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff who describe each dish as it’s placed, make the experience a much more professional and finer experience. A dream marriage of supper club – professional restaurant – casual canteen and fine dining. It’s a real amalgamation of styles but certainly met and exceeded expectations set from the success of a previous residency at Upstairs at the Ten Bells pub. There is a good dose of experience in this team; Chef Isaac McHale (one half of the Young Turks chef collective), Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith (private dining club The Clove Club), seem to be pulling of this new venture with an understated East London flair.
With the set menu – you get what your given (they do allow for dietary requirements etc). Our dinner was set at a leisurely pace; I would suggest having a table at a later time, so you won’t be rushed through your meal (for the next sitting), which is actually a rather substantial amount of food.
Radishes, Sesame & Gochuchang, Buttermilk Chicken & Pine Salt, Smoked Duck Ham
Mackerel, Picked Rhubarb & Turnip
Grilled Squid, Tarragon & Green radish
Rib of Beef, Ramson & Potato
Blood Orange, Sheep’s Milk Mousse & Wild Fennel
Caramel Ice Cream, Barley & Oats
Chicory Tea Cake
Felt like great value for the menu. We were satisfied. This is a stylish, tasty menu, with a multitude of textures and flavours. There are conversation inducing dishes with some unusual combinations. It’s creative and skilful. Each dish was a pleasant surprise and we felt spring time infused on our plates, if not the weather outside.
This feels honest, you can taste and feel the experience of the team in the dishes, in the service and in the overall offering. It feels grown up and modern. Supper club slash fine dining.
We paid £65 pp inc set menu, a cocktail and a bottle of wine.
Sample bar menu:
Rye Crackers, Fennel & Oak-Smoked Cod’s Roe
Raw Bream, Blood Orange & Turnip
Grilled Wood Pigeon Sausages
Lamb’s Heart, Anchovy & Bitter Leaves
Judas Ear Fungus, Salsify & Beef Sauce
Lemon sole on the bone with Indian Spices
Garlic, Squid and Monks beard
Baked Devilled Crab
Dinner: Restaurant – 6pm – 10pm / Bar – 6pm – 11pm
Lunch: (Starting from 18th March) / 12 Noon – 2:30pm
Closed from 3pm – 5pm
Entertaining: A very fashionable opening this year and on a lot of hit lists we imagine. The lack of having any choice style menu, means that this is aimed more at a foodie appreciatate -ory audience, people willing to try, experiment and hand over ordering control. I will most definitely be bringing clients and friends alike back for dinner. However, we do think that the concept and some dishes might go over the heads and palates of some less food and ‘restaurant culture’ obsessed diners.
The Clove Club / Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, EC2A 3BE / 020 7729 6496