Recently, Husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary! Although the traditional gift is cotton, we decided we'd be okay with food instead. (We decided this last year too, and next year.) We quickly came up with The Clove Club after I was informed that eating tubs of soft serve from Yorica! probably isn't a smart idea. Located in Shoreditch's Town Hall, The Clove Club is only a few years old and a favorite of super hip people. To make sure people know how super hip it is and how special you have to be to get in, you don't make a reservation per se; you buy tickets online to the 'event' of your dinner, well in advance. So we had tickets to the show a few weeks ago, on a Tuesday evening at 7ish, and it went past 11pm because it was a tasting menu at a Michelin-rated restaurant (one star) and that's what they do that's what they do.
Sicilia (I'm just gonna call her that) immediately asked if we wanted still or sparkling water, so, plus 1 on the water issue getting handled quickly! To that question, I usually respond 'tap' because they are always trying to trick you into buying a bottle when they ask that question. Angry face! No one should have to pay for water! Luckily, Husband answered before I had the chance to embarrass us with my answer, because fancy clean water was included in our already-paid bill. Phew! They probably would have asked me to leave. Husband likes sparkling water and I like still, so they brought us bottles of both and kept refilling them at a very impressive pace. Bravo! Finally! Sicilia also confirmed that Husband was doing a wine pairing while I was getting a soft pairing! I had completely forgotten about that! This is the first time I've ever heard a restaurant offering beverage pairings with each dish for anything other than alcohol, so this was so exciting. Then she brought us cold towels like you might get on planes if you are a fancy person. I liked that they were chilled because it is summer (sort of), but I wonder if they give warm towels in the winter. That sounds like it would be nice.
We were brought a basket of bread by this point, with olive oil for me. Like other Michelin restaurants who give you bread, the olive oil was the best I've had in a long time, probably since the last such place. The bread was good but it was cold. Well not cold but room temperature, I guess. If it was slightly warm it would have been off the chiz.
Next was the standard you would expect when any and every nonveg place caters to a vegan - baked aubergine, or eggplant for you 'mercans. Unlike the endless conference/wedding meals of crappy baked eggplant topped with bland tomato sauce, this version was wonderful. The tiny eggplants were cooked well and covered with herbs and a thin, tasty green tomato sauce. RG! My soft here I thiiiink was the apple juice, slightly greenified. Yum!
The second dessert was a lemongrass and berry jelly, which was fine but not worthy of ending the meal. A little too boring, a little too it's-just-berries-and-jelly. Of course by this point I was seriously full anyway, so whatever.
Water speed: Amazing!! Great job! And it wasn't tap but it was included dance dance dance! (I'm very cheap.)
Service: Absolutely wonderful. The best waitress in London by far!
Bathrooms: The bathrooms are downstairs, dark and reminiscent of like a brothel in 1800's New Orleans. You know what I mean? The lighting was dim, the colors were dark reds and browns, and random cosmetics were scattered on display. A very strange mood going on but it was nice and clean, so whatever! Also I liked that the stall was separated from the sink area, despite being a single serve bathroom. People don't have to wait outside that way, avoiding the awkwardness that comes from that. Oh the toilet seat was hysterically big and weird! That's enough.
Food: A wonderful meal overall, with only very few missteps. As with all similar fancy but nonveg restaurants, they really could do to up the protein quotient of the vegan menu. They focus on doing vegetables and doing them very well, and I'm not saying add tofu or seitan or something when they don't use it for the main diners, but add a bean here or there, ya know? And dessert, at least the final one, really could use some work. Other than that, it was splendid.
Bonus: The restaurant has a great atmosphere and makes you feel so special being there! Be cool like hip Shoreditch people! It was the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Oh and the biggest bonus - SOFT PAIRING!!!!