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The Clove Club, situated in Shoreditch Town Hall is the epitome of East London restaurant. Located in an old, decadent building, the restaurant is designed with simplicity in mind. It has plain stripped wooden furniture, a dingle tea light candle for decoration and a bare bar with hanging herbs, lavender and some chintzy old fashioned champagne glasses.

As we walked in we were welcomed at a small wooden reception table by a stereotypical ‘Hoxton set’ waitress chirpily introducing herself and delegating the rest of the work to the waiter so that she could get back to her chat with her friend.

We were given the dinner menu, which offered very tempting propositions, but this was swiftly taken away from us as it was lunch time and we were then handed the lunch menu with limited dishes available – we were not thrilled at this news but such is life. We ordered some tap water that came out in the new ‘trendy’ glass milk bottles with a spring of mint to show ‘care and thought’.

We ordered the chicken skins with onions and asparagus and a glass of prosseco, included in the lunch and dinner menu as the introductory course – fried chicken with pine salt , beef croquettes and mustard and the third dish was asparagus, black sesame and gochuchang. Firstly the chicken came out hanging off a small Christmas tree like a bauble hung by a child. The haggis was served with a smear of mustard sauce – vibrant, bold and striking. The asparagus was a little overdone for my liking but at least a little more subtle than the other two courses in its presentation. Five asparagus spears served with a tobacco looking seasoning and a creamy sauce. This to me was  more substance over style but hey we are in Shoreditch – home of the bobble hats and gilded books as a style icon…

The starters came out after we finished our first glass of prosseco and it was good. The chicken skins, which can often be greasy were light and incredibly well presented with swirls of watercress and potatoes purée. Hot, crispy and well presented, not bad.

Second glass of presseco and our main courses were served. We ordered the same option from the limited lunch menu ; confit pork belly, smoked Onion, borlotti beans and peas. The pork belly again was immaculately presented, every spruce of herb, smear of sauce and sprinkling of spice was done to perfection – unfortunately because the chef was so keen on the presentation the pork was slightly cold and lacked the flavour impact. It was good but lacked the substance. I think that probably sums up this place – it looks cool, it looks promising but when it comes to the bite, (excuse the pun) it failed to deliver. Service was icy cool and the surroundings were bare, unfortunately the food did not live up to the presentation or the ‘east end cool attitude’ of this place. More style over substance. As a result the Clove Club gets:

            Food                       Atmosphere                      Service

2 Stars3 Stars2 Stars

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