Rarely does a restaurant get to repurpose such a grand old building as Shoreditch Town Hall, but this is indeed the home to The Clove Club, a place I have been looking forward to eating at since starting on the odyssey.

A little background for you

The concept started life as a supper club hosted back in 2010 by founders Daniel Willis, Isaac McHale and Johnny Smith before setting up in this fantastic old building in 2013 and swiftly rising to no.33 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018 (It now sits at no. 27 on the 2019 list). Isaac McHale’s previous career involved some pretty notable stints at Elystan Street Chelsea (under Tom Aikens) The Ledbury, Noma and Eleven Maddison Park. Out of these, he spent 8 years at The Ledbury working alongside James Lowe (now head chef at Lyle’s and the just opened Flor).

Modern British cooking

Having been to Lyle’s (and loved it, see blog post here – https://objectspaceplace.com/blog/lyles/) I could definitely sense that they are cut from the same cloth. They describe themselves as offering “ modern British cooking – thoughtful, precise and elegant food in a relaxed and informal setting.”     

They both have a warm, relaxed, very sincere style of service. They both are housed in fantastic buildings of character. The main difference is that there is a stripped back excellence to Lyle’s that aspires to be slightly lower key, whereas The Clove Club aims for a more special, rarefied experience in my opinion.

Relaxed perfection

Overall, feel of this place is relaxed perfection; my guest was half an hour late for our reservation, not a problem at all; my guest was lactose intolerant, not a problem, they adjusted every dish for her and I might add knew exactly where the challenges might be so were able to talk her through potential ways the chef could change things on the dish. Service was warm, professional and had that knack of pre-empting our needs before we said anything.

The food was impeccable; a little playful, beautiful to look at and completely delicious. There is a full tasting menu and a shorter version with five courses (also available at lunchtime), as well as wine and ‘ambient tea’ pairings. The signature raw Orkney scallop (from the eponymous archipelago north of Scotland) with Périgord truffle, hazelnut and mandarin is among the most Instagrammed dishes, together with the ‘parten bree’ Scottish spider crab hot pot, inspired by a traditional Scottish soup. As dessert, you may taste burnt clementine granite and buttermilk mousse.

Furnished, rather than designed

The interior design is calm and restrained with great consideration given to celebrating this old building and not overwhelming it was new ‘stuff’. It feels furnished rather than designed with a capital ‘D’ and is much the better for it. An open kitchen and the general bustle in the dining room provided atmosphere even when mostly empty.

This place is excellent, I highly recommend you go.

This post was written by David Chenery

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