It’s no secret that we love to eat out. Not too often, as I do enjoy cooking (and Ben gets left with the tidying up), but we are keen to discover new restaurants, try new food and spoil our taste buds with new flavours. These reasons combined result in us not really giving one another presents for birthdays, but rather booking a nice restaurant for a joint experience. And this October was no different. I read about The Clove Club on the list of the best tasting menus in London and decided we have to try it. On Saturday, 10th October, we headed to Shoreditch Town Hall for the extended tasting menu.
It’s no surprise that you have to book in advance and pay upfront. I spent £95 per person for the extended menu without the wine pairing. Wine pairing comes at an additional £65 per person. You can also opt for the smaller, 5 course menu, which comes in at £65 per person and additional £50 per person if you opt for wine pairing. There’s also lunch options and bar menu available.
When we walked into the bar area, it already felt comfortable and amazing. I can’t explain it very well, but it just felt warm and comfortable. You walk through the bar to the dining area and have an open view of the kitchen, which I loved a lot. We ordered champagne, after all we were celebrating, and were sipping it whilethe most friendly waiters ever took care of us. We were given the menu, so we could refresh our memory as to what lies ahead and we ordered a glass of wine each to accompany our dining experience.
The Clove Club Menu on 10th October 2015
Our first course was a group of starters, small bite-sized dishes that all packed in some amazing taste. We eat a lot of chicken, but the chicken legs we were given were a total revelation. Crispy skin that was so full of flavour we wouldn’t mind getting seconds… and thirds… and, you know what I mean. The crispy deliciousness was accompanied with a lovely sauce that we mopped up to such an extent that the restaurant wouldn’t even need to wash the little dish.
Crispy Chicken Leg Skin and Sauce
What followed were two refreshing bites, one with green tea powder and one with seasonal greens. They were lovely and prepared my palate for what was to come.
Green Tea Powdered Bites
Seasonal Greens Bite
Little refreshing bites were followed by more chicken. Little chicken balls that rested on a bed of pine needles. And those needles did infuse the balls with an incredible flavour, it almost felt like we were eating Christmas itself.
Crispy Chicken on a Bed of Pine Needles
All of this food and we didn’t even get to our starter. I thought that a seven course menu was just that, seven small plates of food, but The Clove Club is full of surprises and in the end we counted 19 small plates of heavenly snacks, mains, mid-course dishes and desserts.
The first course that we also found on the menu was flame grilled mackrel sashimi, English mustard & cucumber that was phenomenal. I love sushi, so I’ve nothing against raw fish and this one was sublime.
Flame Grilled Mackrel Sashimi
There was more seafood on the menu and I couldn’t wait till I tasted the scallops. Scallops are probably one of my favourite dishes ever and I always made my mum buy and prepare them when I was living at home. They are so wonderfully tender. This however, was the first time that I have ever had raw scallops. And they didn’t disappoint. They just melt in your mouth and if you take a spoonful of the sauce with hazelnuts and Clementine, the combined effect is explosive.
Raw Orkney Scallop, Hazelnuts, Clementine & Wiltshire Truffle
Warm chestnut and oyster broth with seaweed was next on the menu. This little bowl of comfort was perfect for a colder evening. I could almost imagine sitting by the fire and holding it in my hands while it’s snowing outside (I know it’s only October, but the food was so amazing it transported me into a fairy land).
Warm Chestnut and Oyster Broth
As if all this wonderful food wasn’t enough, they brought freshly baked bread over. I tried it and fell in love. I come from a country where excellent bread in more of a rule than exception, but this one was divine. Crunchy crust and soft middle with soft butter and everything just melted in your mouth. We couldn’t get enough of it, so I think I ended up eating four or five slices (which is a lot seeing that I usually eat two slices in a whole week!). But bread wasn’t all, we also got two different types of cured meat (which they cure themselves in case you’re wondering). I’ll just say YUM!
Homemade Bread With Cured Ham
The next dish was a dainty little aubergine filled with edible flowers, air-dried tuna in green tomato sauce. I have never before tasted green tomato, but the taste was incredible. And it looked almost too pretty to eat.
Baby Organic Aubergine With Green Tomato and Air Dried Tuna
The aubergine was followed by the Scottish Grouse & Corn Kakiage, which may not look very impressive, but it tasted good. Our taste buds experienced flavourful sweetness of corn mixing with grouse and it was great.
Scottish Grouse & Corn Kakiage
We were feeling quite full (it may have been that delicious bread) before the next dish arrived, Pilaf rice with pheasant and pumpkin was different. The taste was great, but I was so blown away by all the other dishes so far that rice failed to impress me. However, it wasn’t just rice, there was also a bit of barley in there, which I have very fond memories of.
Pheasant & Pumpkin Pilaf
Rice dish was followed by a pheasant consomme with a 100 year old Madeira. We both got a small sip of Madeira, which I have never had before, and were told to swirl it around our glass. That same glass was then filled with the consomme and was flavoured by the leftover Madeira in the glass. Another comforting dish that just sparks that happy feeling in even the most discerning diner.
Pheasant Consomme With Hundred Year Old Madeira
Our main course was lamb. And it was prepared beautifully. Still pink in the middle with enough sauce and very crispy and tasty potatoes. It was lamb three ways, so prepared in three different ways with different cuts of meat. I love lamb and this one was spot on.
Hebridean Lamb, Anchovy, Parmesan, Spinach & Crisp Potato
After the main we decided to give the cheese platter a try (you need to pay extra for that). The cheeses were lovely. French and English ones, so you can compare similar cheese from different countries with oat cakes. It was really nice despite us feeling rather full.
Cheese Platter (Goats Cheese, Blue Cheese, etc.)
After all this food it was time for a dessert. But it would be silly to expect one dessert, wouldn’t it. And The Clove Club doesn’t disappoint. Our first dessert was a bite-sized piece of heaven, fresh and crunchy.
Dessert No. 1
It was followed by Amalfi Lemonade with Sarawak Pepper which was so refreshing it completely woke me up and prepared me for what was still on the menu. The zingy taste of lemons was incredible, it almost felt like I’m eating fresh lemons on the Italian coast, but without pulling a face due to too much sourness. This was perfect.
Amalfi Lemonade & Sarawak Pepper
This was followed by another dessert, fruity with caramel and absolutely delicious. I would have finished it regardless of my completely full belly.
Dessert No. 3
The last two bits of dessert came together. Two chocolates and two cakes made out of grains. The cakes were amazing, the flavour was smoky and rich, which I didn’t expect as they looked like little muffins, but they were a perfect ending to a perfect night enjoying the best tasting menu in London.
Grains, Grains, Grains
I can only say that the staff at The Clove Club makes you feel welcome and comfortable at all times. Your napkin gets folded every time you leave the table and everybody is very knowledgeable about the food they serve. It’s great that they explain what’s in front of you and often ask for feedback as well.
I can highly recommend a visit and it was well worth the £275 we spend for that night. I don’t have any problems saying that this is the best tasting menu in London