Boy and I have a ritual where we celebrate his birthday the evening before (you might remember last year at Kitty Fisher’s and the year before at City Social). This year was a little different since I had my last two exams on the day we planned to go and there was no way I’d make it back to London in time, so we went on the evening of his birthday instead. At least it meant I would enjoy the evening and weekend, but this was it. No taking the gamble with a risky place and using “well it’s not your birthday yet anyway” as an excuse. I had to find the perfect place.
After lots and lots of research, it turns out The Clove Club was the restaurant I’d be searching for. I knew it had to be the perfect mix of incredible food and great vibes without being pretentious in any way, and maybe even a little laid back. This was it. I’d done it. Thankfully I did my research early since it gets booked up quickly, so I marked the date and time in my calendar when the bookings for May were released, and I pounced. You have to buy the whole dinner and pay for it when you booked, which is crazy but great on their behalf for not having cancellations. Also it meant that this place BETTER be good.
The restaurant was perfect. An open kitchen with a simple, wooden decor that looked like it could have been someone’s dining room. You’d never guess that it’s currently the 55th best restaurant in the world.
I decided to doll up and wear a little dress and heels, which was a good idea when I looked in the mirror but less clever when you’re tottering down the streets of Shoreditch. At least Boy was appreciative of my efforts. And the drink in his hand.
Whilst I was at the bar waiting for him (where we were going was a surprise so I gave him the address and not the name, which somehow meant he had trouble finding it), I was chatting to the bartender about what to drinks. I nodded furiously when he said the word “bellini”. I was given a Pear Bellini, where you could taste the fresh pear. No syrup here, folks.
I was reading for the courses. The menu says 10, but really you know there are snacks before and petit fours after. Maybe the tight dress wasn’t such a good idea after all.
I let them know about my veggie requirements, so our menus were a little different from each other.
The first thing to appear was the selection of snacks.
I took pictures of each of one them, but since they weren’t on the menu, I haven’t got a clue what they area. The waiter tells you when he puts them in front of you, but I think I was so in awe and excited to eat that I couldn’t write it down. I really should start voice recording and marking them feel socially awkward.
Luke had a special non-veggie one, I think it was something fishy, and definitely sprinkled with matcha.
This was my special veggie one. And that’s all I’m going to say. Or can say.
There were two more snack plates, both delicious.
Especially these cheesy puff things.
You’d think the 10-course meal would start after that. But nope, the snacks continued!
Here is Boy’s something-that-was-delicious. I just asked him if he remembered what it was, and that was his reply, followed by “sorry I think I was drunk”.
And here’s my veggie alternative.
THEN MORE SNACKS! HOORAH!
I remember this snack because I can’t forget how jealous I was. It was this Buttermilk Fried Chicken (I’m pretty sure…) sat in a basket of pine. Hmph.
Okay, here are more insanely delicious snack things, the meat one blurred in the background for Boy since it less important, and then my delicious veggie one symbolised by the cress sat on top.
Bad food blogger for drinking and not remembering what they are. But I can tell you they are gooooddddd!
The arrival of the first glass of wine signalled the courses were about to start. I got one wine pairing for us to take turns sipping on to avoid us crawling out or chunning our Michelin starred meal.
My first official course was super pretty, decorated with edible flowers. It was Pea Mousse & Iced Goat’s Milk.
I’m never that keen on savoury things that are frozen, so that part of it wasn’t my favourite.
Boy really enjoyed his though – Hay Grilled Bonito Sashimi, Tomato & Trombetta Courgette. Why wouldn’t he?
Next course, next wine. The constant race to finish the glass of wine before the next was poured started. My slow-paced half-Asian drinking habits were put to the test.
This might have been my favourite course. Everything that I love was put in it. Crispy Warm Pheasant Egg, Kale, Wild Garlic & Mousserons. Holy moly.
The meat option is equally as exciting – Flamed Cornish Mackerel, English Mustard & Cucumber.
Next, we were brought out a couple of Spring Herb Broths. Ours was slightly different as I think his was made with something slightly different (obviously non-vegetarian).
I think it was the only thing I didn’t finish since I didn’t want to fill up my tummy space on liquids.
And, well, that meant more bread. The delicious, homemade bread. I knew after a few courses in that I would regret agreeing to more bread that was offered, but I always do it anyway. Some people smoke, I have other bad habits.
Another white wine arrived, which came in a gorgeous long bottle. I don’t think I’ve ever had white wine as good as this evening’s.
Next up, another meal I was seriously jealous of. Wild Scottish Langoustine, Brown Butter & Elderflower Vinegar.
My Jersey Royal Potato Soup, Samphire & Nettles was delicious enough to numb the pain.
This was followed by the Cornish Thornback Ray, Grelot Onions, Mousserons & Asparagus.
Mine was the English Asparagus En Papillote, Cow’s Curd & Verbena.
Here is the Cow’s Curd & Verbena.
And here’s the asparagus – how cute!
I’m not in love with asparagus or anything, so it was good, but I didn’t exactly inhale it like the others.
Now, for the most exciting dish. For a normal, meat-eating menu, this is the start of the Whole Roast Challans Duck in Three Servings. First, a light Duck Consummé & Hundred Year Old Madiera. If you’re a veggie, you’ll get Mushroom Cosommé instead.
That’s right. This wine was over 100 years old, made in 1908. ISN’T THAT THE COOLEST THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN?
We got to taste a little sip.
This was followed by the addition of the warm consommé.
I don’t think Boy finished his, but I LOVED mine. Plus, it would be a crime to let a single drop of that wine go to waste.
The Challans Duck was then presented to Boy in all it’s glory. Not to eat, but just observe before it wsa cut up.
But first, red wine.
Whilst Boy was on his duck journey, I was given yet more asparagus. I was a bit like “ugh” when I read the word asparagus again, but Boy insisted since it wsa white asparagus, it was different. Roast White Asparagus, Morels, Thyme & Broad Beans, to be specific.
And he was right. It was different. AND DELICIOUS.
I offered him a little taste because I couldn’t believe it was so good, even though he was happy with his Heather Honey & Black Beer Glazed Breast, Fermented Cabbage & Beetroot.
He did mention that it wasn’t as good as the duck at Noma. But hey, it’s Noma.
I couldn’t get enough of these Morels (a type of mushroom), so I was pretty stoked when I read that next up was New Season Morel Stuffed with Potato, Parsley & Ramson.
They were as delicious as I expected. Boy even begged for a little bite.
He had his own Hot Smoked Duck Sausage to enjoy, and I think that’s duck skin next to it.
We waved goodbye to the savoury dishes, and welcomed the arrival of dessert with some sweeter wines.
At least all our meals were the same now so we can be judgy mean girls together (actually just discuss how good things are), and it meant Boy no longer had a legit excuse to steal my food.
The first dessert was Warm Blood Orange, Sheep’s MIlk Yoghurt & Wild Fennel Granita.
It was actually delicious. Who knew, Sheep’s Milk Yoghurt? I was a little funny with the wild fennel granita (you know, frozen and savoury) but it was alright when eaten with the orange and yoghurt, just not alone (for me, anyway).
Next dessert, next dessert wine. Boy and I are stuffed full and pretty drunk at this point. However, not as drunk as this Kiwi girl behind us who I genuinely heard tell the table next to her that they were just “a couple of kiwi bitches” and eventually had to be told to settle down, which was a shame because we were really enjoying pretending to talk to each other whilst trying to listen.
This was joined by a little Macchiato action.
Our second and last dessert was delicious. Loquat Sorbet, Loquat Kernel Cream & Puffed Amaranth – Loquat is an Asian fruit for those who don’t know (thanks Google).
Basically, we would’ve described it as creamy deliciousness with secret sorbet that you discover when you get to the middle of it and you wished you’d gotten there sooner because it tastes so good with the creaminess on the outside. This is topped with a crisp layer of what we firmly believed was popcorn because it tasted like it.
We made it to the end of the menu, and hi-fived our ability to consume food. Our celebration for getting through it without waving the white flag was only met with more food. Petit fours, my best friend and worst enemy.
If I couldn’t tell you what the snacks were, I really can’t name the petit fours. There was a chocolate thing, and chocolate things are always yummy.
There was also what I really want to say was wholemeal muffins, which were the only savoury petit four.
Then, this goodness that I have no idea what it is called, but it came with a super cute note.
Look how hard Boy is concentrating to read it in a drunk state.
It was full of liquid and exploded in your mouth. You can imagine how excited and giggly we got when we discovered that.
Fully recommended. I couldn’t think of a better place to have gone for his birthday. The fact that our sommelier remembered us from when we were at Kitchen Table when he worked there was the cherry on top of the most comfortable and delicious evening.