Updated: Jan 13, 2019
If you thought British cuisine was just about Beef Wellingtons, think again. The Clove Club offers some of the best modern British food you can find.
The Clove Club is probably the best fine dining restaurant in London. It’s ranked 33 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and has One Michelin Star (Though I feel it deserves at least two stars). At just £110 per person (+£80/£110 for the wine pairing or prestige wine pairing, a tea pairing is also offered) the value for money is quite phenomenal.
As mentioned earlier, the restaurant serves traditional British cuisine with a contemporary twist. Situated right next to the Shoreditch Town Hall, The interiors are quite minimal — almost nordic. The ambient was also quite nice and nothing was distracting form the food.
To avoid spoiling too much of the experience for my readers, I’ll highlight two of the dishes I found to be the most interesting:
Spider Crab “Partan Bree”
This masterful combination of crab with rice created quite an impression. The body of the rice supplemented the delicate flavors of crab on the palate. Flavours were also well balanced and mellow, nothing was too overbearing. The only improvement would probably be the wine pairing. Actually, sake pairing. This dish was served with a ‘Strawberry Blossom’ Tokubetsu Junmai. Though the pairing of rice and sake made sense (as sake is essentially rice wine), the fruity aromatics and low alcohol of the junmai sake failed to stand out against the aftertaste of crab. Perhaps a warm honjozo would have worked better.
On a side note, It is interesting to see the growing popularity of sake here in London. Other restaurants such as Marianne have also been offering sake with their wine pairings. I personally find sake to be less successful than their wine counterparts due to its delicacy and lack of body. But the addition of sake is quite refreshing. On to our next highlight…
Warm Blood Orange, Sheep’s Milk Yoghurt & Wild Fennel Granita
One of two deserts, this post-entrée dish thoroughly cleansed the tastebuds. A perfect combination of citrus, sugar and dairy. The fennel granita cut through the viscosity of the yogurt with ease and lightened the palate. Whereas the blood orange offered much needed warmth to the cool dish. Truly balanced on all levels.
Pairing this course with a 2003 Riesling Spatläse ‘Zeltlinger Sonnenuhr’ by Markus Molito from the Mosel was also an excellent choice. The acidity of the riesling was spot on, and its medium-sweet character stood up quite well against the sweetness of the blood orange and fennel granita. The riesling’s identifiable stone fruit aromatics were also accentuated. Though 2003 was a particularly warm vintage for Riesling, I’d say the mellow oily characters of the developing wine played off of the excess sugar quite well. An excellent combination indeed!
Again these were only teasers to what's in store at The Clove Club, I highly recommend readers go try it out whenever they are around Shoreditch, London. There is also an option for a smaller tasting menu and a la carte menu, without the wine pairing you can definitely get a great meal for two people well under £150.
For more information, check out The Clove Club here.
P.S. A little tip for those of you who don’t drink alcohol. If you call in a few days before your reservation and ask for a soft pairing, they’ll prepare quite a fresh concoction of juice mocktails for you to enjoy with your meal.
About the Author: This article was written by Sun Il, a new member of the IAMshufaja community writing specifically for the tasting section. He's a British born Korean currently residing in London.