Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Clove Club - The end product

The Clove Club

I've been thinking of how to open this post about The Clove Club. About how it all started 3 years ago with three very talented chefs, and how I've intently followed their progress through a variety of popups that they have done. It would be an understatement to say that I've been a fan of their work. I feel a little sad that there is just Isaac McHale left of the original three Young Turks, but thankfully the food is as great as ever. Partnering up with co-collaborators of their stint at the Ten Bells, the Clove Club was born.

The Clove Club

The Clove Club
English Asparagus, Sesame and Gojuchang

The Clove Club
Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pine Salt

The menu rotates regularly, but some of the old Young Turk favourites are ever present. Their signature buttermilk pine fried chicken is still as succulent and as flavoursome as ever, with subtle Asian flairs, such as their excellent gojuchang (a Korean chilli paste) mayonnaise also making an appearance on my last visit. But they don't just rely on these interesting combination of flavours, it's the superb cooking where they really excel.

The Clove Club
Slow Roast Lincolnshire Chicken, Peas Mousserons and Garlic Scape

The Clove Club
Basically, lots of chickeny bits

Take our main of a rather special Lincolnshire chicken. Each bite released juice from the meat like a sponge, coating your mouth in pure chicken essence. Part of this came from the frankly excellent chicken that they use, but also the ridiculous methods taken to maintain as much pure chicken flavour into the dish. Each chicken is not cooked in an oven, but slowly fried in a frying pan for four hours (if my memory serves me right). Crazy method, but I can't fault the end product. Crisp skin, juicy flesh and every piece of the chicken is used, from wing and heart skewers to a chicken foot crisp.

The Clove Club
Strawberries and Cream

The main dining room is airy and very white, and is verging on the boundary of being really dull. Somehow, small decorations around the room seem to distract you from it's abject whiteness, and soon the room is abuzz with small groups of people. Somehow, the atmosphere is not lost and with the excellent front of house, the polished food and the gentle hum of people enjoying themselves leads to a very pleasurable experience. One not to be missed.

The Clove Club - Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, Greater London EC1V 9LT

The Clove Club on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Those American Burgers - Five Guys and Shake Shack

Right, I know everyone is bored of talk about burgers. Hell, I know that I am. But the truth is, I was just a little bit excited when I heard Five Guys and Shake Shack were both London bound. Two American heavy weights, ready to duke it out on the streets of Covent Garden, one I had heard little of, the other, responsible for one of my food eureka moments. It was going to be pretty interesting how these emotions translated into foodie fact.

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My very own Five Guys hat. Scant reward for rude staff and a ridiculous queuing system.

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First day craziness

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The Double Bacon Cheeseburger (with stuff)

Now, I won't go into the farce of opening day at Five Guys and what madness consumed me to join the queue at lunchtime, but I did and I regret it. The end product, a big greasy mess. Honestly though, it wasn't terrible. I liked the fact that you can pretty much add as many toppings as you want, but with such small patties, overloading these burgers with "stuff" will overpower any beef flavour into oblivion. The fries, nice enough and the cajon seasoning a nice differential, but at over a tenner for a burger and chips, I can't help feeling I'm being just a little bit ripped off. The magic 100 flavour drinks machine is a nice touch and very much a redeeming feature. If you're a soda junkie, come with £2.50 and go wild (a bit like these guys). Getting any type of grape soda is very welcome.

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The Shack Burger and Cheesy Fries

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