Tagged: London

re:View – The Clove Club, or: How to go home hungry, Michelin-style

The boy likes his fine dining so, for his birthday present, I treated him to dinner at the much hyped and newly Michelin starred Clove Club in Shoreditch Town Hall. We’d heard good things about the restaurant, so off we went to Hipster Central to get a taste of that.

The atmosphere and decor – your average, hyper-understated East End money. The staff – plenty, helpful and very friendly.

They started us off with three excellent little nibbles, including smoked cod’s roe on a thin rye crisp and a bite of pine scented, fried buttermilk chicken. For £7.50 per person extra, we got a few super-thin slivers of very tasty home cured bacon, too.

On to the set five-course menu.

I don’t eat seafood and they were lovely about replacing the two seafood starters (scallop and squid – which my partner assures me were both excellent) with a perfectly nice, tiny tomato salad and a piece of pan-fried cod with borlotti beans. The cod was perfectly cooked on the inside but had slightly soggy skin, and it also came with quite a big bone, which is a serious no-no when you’re serving a dainty portion of fish. Big plus: the cloud of garlic froth on the side.

Unfortunately our dinner took a plunge off a cliff at this point. The main course consisted of a microscopic strip of mallard – barely two mouthfuls – and a teaspoon sized dollop of pumpkin purée – and that was it. No sides, certainly no substance. Honestly, a leaf of greens wouldn’t have gone amiss. In hindsight I’m starting to realise why the staff was so very keen to top us up on the bread constantly. Now, we could have gone for a supplementary second main course, and maybe that would have been the one for the hunger. But when I’m eating a £55 five-course menu I kind of expect to be fed properly without having to fork out another £30 for an additional main course.

Dessert remained underwhelming. First came a lemon cream and pepper ice cream dessert – which would have been nice had it been served on a proportionally small scale. Instead it came in a comparatively massive portion; and the amount of sugar, cream and sickly sweetness actually made me feel a bit sick. So much so that I couldn’t even eat the next dessert – yet more cream, this time of the quince and ginger variety, served in a ring of crispy pastry. The waiter didn’t need to look quite so peeved when taking away the plate I had barely touched.

Coffee came with a fairly standard selection of petits fours, but in terms of flavour and delicateness they seemed clumsy compared to what the competition in London dishes up at this point.

We both left the restaurant hungry and on an unpleasant sugar high, seriously longing for a burger. It’s a shame, really, because the food they did serve – certainly up until the dessert – was beautifully cooked and tasted excellent. But at £200 for a dinner for two (and that’s only one person having wine) I do expect to be fed properly – even in Shoreditch.

Monsieur Plumeus goes to town

For a mystical creature such as Monsieur Plumeus, being plucked from its enchanted native lands in a distant universe and plunged into the manic life in one of the human word’s greatest cities naturally comes as a moderate to severe culture shock.

Nevertheless, after several weeks of hiding behind a cupboard in a small room of the Victorian townhouse where his journey began, Plumeus is feeling confident enough to venture outside and explore the strange world he has come upon…

Monsieur Plumeus goes to London
Having survived the most horrifying experience of taking an Underground train, Monsieur Plumeus emerges from the tunnels of doom at Charing Cross...
Monsieur Plumeus goes to London
...and poses for his first ever tourist shot in front of that old tourist favourite, the Number 15 bus from Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill.

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WTF Headlines of the Day

I have to admit, I’m one of those annoying people who are always peering in your paper on the train. I’m not doing it on purpose or anything, I just never seem to get round to grabbing my own paper on the way into the station. (Okay, that’s a lie. I’m a bit OCD about getting newspaper ink all over my hands and not bothered enough about actually reading Metro or Evening Standard to tackle the ink issue.)

The one good thing about being a train newspaper parasite is that you mostly just pick up the headlines (which in the case of the free dailies is usually all you need to know) but not necessarily enough of the stories to make much sense out of them. And every now and then a headline comes along that’s so full of WTF that it totally makes your day. This little editorial gem, for example:

A ninja slug which fires love darts (Metro)

I was nearly tempted to grab a Metro on the way to the Tube to find out all about the love-dart firing ninja slug. But that would only have ruined the awesomeness.

A close runner-up then in the Evening Standard on the train back home:

Your Tube train has been cancelled due to burning toast at the station

…probably caused by a ninja commuter firing some breakfast of mass destruction in frustration over another delay on the Circle Line.

London Christmas lights cheat

Christmas lights. All over Oxford Street.

Have I somehow dropped out of the general timeline? Because in my world it’s not Christmas. It’s not even December. It’s the first week of fucking November. I mean, come on. The Halloween pumpkins aren’t even done rotting yet!

And then, they’re not even real Christmas lights. They’re fucking sparkly advertising screens for A Christmas Carol. I know Christmas is all about selling stuff, and then selling a little more stuff. But shouldn’t at least the Christmas lights be, like, sacred? Just a little?

Or maybe it’s just little, naive me, from my little small town full of 100% Christmas-y, non-commercial Christmas lights. (In December. Where they belong.)

Talk about selling your soul to Disney. Ur doin it rite, London.