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The Clove Club


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#1 MaLO

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 09:46 AM

First try of the Clove Club for lunch a week or two ago.

We got there a bit early so had time to have a look around the area.  Not been around this part of town before.  I don’t know what it’s like in the evenings but there was not much going on.  There were a few bars setting up but looked to me like they were trying a bit too hard to be cool with mismatched furniture and recycled old tat. 

 

There was a street market on Hoxton St (I think) that had a few stalls doing food or drinks and a whole lot of cheap clothing and other junk.  Not particularly impressive.   I may not have seen the best of the area as I was only there for an hour or so.

 

So off we went to lunch.  The menu at lunch time is set up with firstly snacks, then two choices over three courses.  We asked for one of everything as it all read well and we would share.  Happily the kitchen sent us out a plate each of each course. 

 

Clove Club Menu.JPG

 

We had snacks

 

Buttermilk fried chicken and pine salt

 

Butter milk fried chicken and pine salt.JPG

 

Radishes with sesame and gochuchang

 

Radishes.JPG

 

Wood pigeon sausages with ten bells ketchup

 

Wood pigeon sausages.JPG

 

Starters were Mantua melon with house cured meats and rocket

 

Melon and house cured meats.JPG

 

Grilled Mackerel tartare, gooseberries and English mustard

 

Mackerel.JPG

 

Mains.  Fried red mullet, courgette, potato and Indian spices

 

Red mullet.JPG

 

Confit Barbary duck, new seasons corn and runner beans

 

Duck.JPG

 

For dessert we had baked meadowsweet custard with raspberries

 

Meadowsweet custard.JPG

 

And a sheep's milk yoghurt mousse with blackcurrant, beremeal and verbena.

 

Sheeps milk yoghurt.JPG

 

 

All in all it was good.  The food was nicely cooked and presented.  Service was casual and friendly.  It was good value for money and I would happily go back. 


Martin

#2 Jon Tseng

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:25 AM

Hmmm. Finally got round to trying this place yesterday and found it somewhat ordinary.

  • Canapees: The buttermilk fried chicken was best in class, but at the end of the day simply a very well executed chicken nugget. While I applaud how they keep the meat inside so moist (is there any brining involved) there was little discernable "pine" flavour. Other nibbles - radish with gouchuchang and smoked roe on toast (basically taramasalata on ryvita) a bit meh.
  • Starters: I had the mackeral tartare mentioned above - not really anything more than the sum of its parts with the mackeral tasting a bit "fishy" to me (why can't other restaurants get those big spanking fat mackeral you find in Atariya and other Japanese grill joints around town?). Its basically raw mackeral mixed with some gooseberries with some raw cumcumber on top and a microscopic dab of mustard on the side. What can I say? Well sourced and competently assembled...
  • Main: Roast Lincolnshire chicken with cobnuts, summer truffle and other do-dads was again an unsatisfying dish. The chicken was low temp cooked with (I think) the skin crisped flat between baking sheets and added back on top. Only problem was the end part of the chicken ended up unpleasantly medium inside with a corresponding gelatinous texture. Now I know there is an argument for cooking pork/chicken less than has been done historically (I remember a superb piece of pork at Le Gavroche many years ago done nicely medium), but I think this was underdone. The other complaint - any chef who puts summer truffles on a dish goes down instantly in my estimation. This is an ingredient with the flavour and texture of cardboard - the only reason to include it is if you care more about how your dish reads on the menu than it tastes. My conclusion the same as with the tartare - a dish which was not more than the sum of its parts.
  • Dessert: Pudding was poached damsons with meadowsweet custard. The baked custard was nice (think creme brulee without the brulee) but overpowered by the fruit. The waiter proudly told us that the fruit had been dehydrated and then poached... Which begs the question why dry something out if you're then going to cook in liquid (yes I know there's probably some replacement of water with poaching liquid going on... but you get the idea).

All in all disappointing given the laudatory reviews around the press. I'm left thinking if I'm just turning into a grumpy old curmudgeon in my old age - I has a similar disappointing experience at Restaurant Story (am I the only person who thinks the tallow candle is basically a too-clever rip-off of St John Roast Bone Marrow? Its exactly the same flavour profile with the added feature that if you leave it too long it congeals...).

 

To me the Noma-esque throw-textures-together-on-a-plate approach is very hard to pull off. You need not only pristine ingredients and technique, but the ability to make ta dish greater than the sum of parts. Texture and Viajante pull it off in London, but few other places satisfy.

 

J


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#3 Prawncrackers

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 05:24 AM

I’m kinda in between the two assessments already put forward.  Erring to Malo’s enjoyable experience then Jon’s curmudgeonly one.  The buzz around the place was fun and the service was suitably informal yet efficient.  Though I thought the lighting was poor, the drab vintage aura of the meek lights made the food look more and more gloomy as the evening drew in.  It just doesn’t work in such a high-ceilinged room.  Anyway, to the food:

 

Starters

Buttermilk fried chicken with Pine Salt.  Completely meh, moist but not that crispy and couldn’t taste the pine salt.  I’ve had better fried chicken in Japanese convenience stores.

Radish with sesame and Gojuchang mayo.  Nice combo, crispy crunchy radishes are always a nice way to start a meal.  Nothing too ground-breaking here.  Seems Gojuchang is the new Sriracha with on-trend chefs.

Wood-pigeon sausage.  Delicious!  Cooked nice and pink but only a third of a chipolatas worth of meat.  Like a miserable sample at a bad farmer’s market.  C’mon a whole chipolata should be the minimum sausage serving in a restaurant, let’s start a petition.

 

Fish

BBQ Squid with Runner Beans, Anchovy and Sunflower.  This is the best dish of the night.  Lightly charred ribbons of meaty squid was so tender, tangled with strips of soft sweet runner beans in a light dressing.  On one side of the tangle there was a crumble of what I thought tasted of toasted hazelnut but as there was no mention of it in the dish description I can only assume it was sunflower seeds and some kind of dried anchovy.  Whatever it was it made the dish.  The combination of nutty with charred fresh squid and sweet greens is sensational.

 

Slow Cooked Dover sole, with courgettes and Indian Spices.  A pleasant enough dish, nicely cooked but a bit safe and boring maybe.

 

Meat

Chicken with Girolles and Sweetcorn Polenta.  Again a pleasant dish, good roasted chicken flavour.  Comfortably matched with girolle and sweetcorn.  I was not offended by the light snow of summer truffle over the dish, it boosted the mushroom flavour and wasn’t listed on the menu…

 

Hay Roasted Grouse.  Wonderfully cooked and young.  I’m not of the school that believes it should be hung until it’s arsehole turns green and legs drop off.  The breast was so tender it melted in the mouth, the legs richer and chewable.  One of the best grouse I’ve ever eaten.

 

Desserts

Blackcurrant leaf ice cream, Jelly and Beremeal.  Served on a blackcurrant leaf that we were advised not to eat, wtf? Jelly and icecream, what can you say?

Baked Meadowsweet Custard with Raspberries.  A little more interesting, I like the elusive grassy plastic flavour of meadowsweet.  The raspberries weren’t too tart which is the best you can hope for with raspberries.

 

So all in all quite good.  I was expecting something a little more cutting edge but actually a lot of it was very safe, not messing around with decent ingredients.  Keeping things fresh, light and tasty.  I went here, The Ledbury, Hedone and L’enclume in the space of 5 days.  For me at the moment L’Enclume is untouchable.  The Ledbury is the best restaurant I’ve eaten in the capital and I enjoyed The Clove Club more than Hedone, whose inconsistency still baffles me.


Edited by Prawncrackers, 16 September 2013 - 05:24 AM.


#4 Man

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 07:14 AM

The other complaint - any chef who puts summer truffles on a dish goes down instantly in my estimation. This is an ingredient with the flavour and texture of cardboard - the only reason to include it is if you care more about how your dish reads on the menu than it tastes. My conclusion the same as with the tartare - a dish which was not more than the sum of its parts.

 

J

Well said, one of my persistent gripes as well. (not at the CC which I haven't tried but in so many other places).

That said, I learned recently that Summer truffle proper (Tuber aestivum) is in fact the same species as Tuber uncinatum (Burgundy truffles for the French and various local types of black truffles for us Italians, e.g. 'nero del Baldo') which is much better. The difference thus is not genetic but derives from environmental factors. (Tuber melanosporum is of course yet different and the best). I think they should put 'Tuber cardboardum' on some menus to describe accurately what they serve :smile:

 

Edit: maybe the French wouldn't say exactly 'Burgundy truffle', but you get the point ...


Edited by Man, 16 September 2013 - 07:16 AM.


#5 Matthew Grant

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:20 AM

Very disappointing meal on Saturday. Some dishes were under seasoned and often felt one dimensional. I felt everything was crying out for something else in the dish e.g. acidity, salt, sweet etc.

Service was annoying as well, we never got offered any bread and when we asked for some cheese our American waiter told us that the liquor licence finished at midnight, looked at my watch and it was only 2245, the waiter then asked us whether we thought we would be able to finish by midnight, predictably we were paying up less than an hour later. He also presented the pheasant with the explanation "because its game season, or as you call it in the UK "bird season"..." Since when did we call it "bird season"?          


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