Harden's survey result
In terms of media profile, Daniel Willis, Johnny Smith and chef Isaac McHale’s groundbreaking, east London six-year-old is one of the capital’s culinary titans: the highest UK restaurant in the famous World’s 50-best ranking of global gastronomic champions (one of only two UK names to be thus-recognised). Occupying a neutrally-decorated chamber within Shoreditch’s gracious old town hall – with blue-tiled open kitchen on view – the experience features prodigiously-edgy combinations using seasonal British ingredients, and is centred on an extended tasting menu (although there is also a cut-down version available Monday to Thursday, which has a mere six courses; as well another cut-down option at lunch of just four courses). The restaurant also makes a particular feature of thoughtful non-alcoholic and ‘ambient tea’ drinks pairings to complement its more traditional wine options – an innovation other big names would do well to follow. Does it live up? For many reporters the answer is still yes, with lavish praise for its “lush”, “exceptionally creative cuisine”, “unusually knowledgeable service” and “remarkable wine”. However the “pretentiously unpretentious” interior (no tablecloths of course) lacks charge for somewhere now so famous; and overall the average ratings here are starting to look thoroughly middling in terms of London’s other ‘heavy hitting’ names, by which yardstick its Top 50 placement just doesn’t stack up. Flabbergasting pricing is another issue: even fans acknowledge “you need to remortgage your home to go”, and 1 in 3 reporters now vote it their most overpriced meal of the year. Oh, and you have to pay in advance…
“Top-end, creative dining without pretensions” has carved a global reputation for Daniel Willis, Isaac Mchale and Johnny Smith’s “relaxed” blue-tiled chamber within Shoreditch’s fine old town hall (whose renown is sealed by achieving the UK’s highest position in the ‘World’s 50 Best’, ranking at 33). The results from the open kitchen via a five-course or ten-course tasting menu focus on British-sourced produce and are “phenomenally good, exceptionally interesting and always innovative”. As well as “inspired wine pairings”, the forward-thinking approach is shown by “(surprisingly) good non-alcoholic pairings” too. “Staff have amazing knowledge of the food and wine” and their “real care” adds a lot to the experience (“my veggie boyfriend never feels like he’s an inconvenience here like at so many other restaurants”). Gripes? The setting is quite “Spartan”. More significantly, whereas most reports say it “exceeded our sky-high expectations”, ratings here softened this year, with the chief complaint being a feeling that it’s becoming “hugely overpriced”: “even if the food’s a wow, it’s so expensive”, and some feel “it’s beginning to rival the River Café for non-value!”.
Isaac McHale’s temple to “fine dining Shoreditch-style” sits in London’s culinary Top-5 nowadays, and his “theatrically presented” 5-course and 10-course menus offer “an absolute balance between sophistication, simplicity, and creativity”. The space itself within the fine old town hall is “a bit urban-ascetic” (no table cloths, of course), but is “not too archly hipster” and the “relaxed yet professional service” creates an appropriately “chilled out” yet “truly memorable” experience. Very progressively, there’s a “brilliant non-alcoholic drink match” alongside the more conventional wine pairings.
“Beyond amazing!!!!” Isaac McHale’s “playful” and “exquisitely crafted” cuisine provides one of London’s best trendy gastronomic experiences. Despite the hipster street cred of this “slightly sparse and echoey” chamber inside Shoreditch’s fine old town hall, staff are “attentive and not overbearing”, but the “pay-in-advance policy” can seem “irritating”.
The Clove Club Restaurant Diner Reviews
"A memorable set lunch with wine pairing. Exquisite food, highly knowledgeable, attentive staff. The emailed questionaire a couple of days before gives the staff a hint of how to personalise service. Unusual setting that works very well. "
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, EC1V 9LT
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑10:30 pm|