The clove club Is one of the latest openings in the rapidly changing London food scene. Other recent openings have included Bubbledogs Kitchen Table, Koya, Hedone (a restaurant that made it on the Pellegrino top 50-100 list after a little more than a year open) and The Story from Tom Sellers ( ex Noma and Per-Se ). Given all this activity It is fair to say that London is back on the culinary map. In fact this year San Sebastian Gastronomika ( October 6th to 9th ) will be hosting some of these up and coming London chefs like Brett Graham (The Ledbury), Mikael Jonsson (Hedone), David Dtafford (Rules), Jeremy Lee (Quo Vadis), James Stappet (Bubble Dogs), Issac McHale (The Clove Club), James Lowe and Nuno Mendes (Viajante) This is surely an event worth checking out!
We visited The Clove Club the week that the famous and controversial Pellegrino list was announced. This year El Celler de Can Roca was named number 1. A well deserved win and Great news for the Spanish food and hospitality industry. That being said, does this mean that Can Roca is currently the best restaurant in the World where one would eat one of the most incredible meals? ( if something as abstract as a meal can be measured or ranked ) The answer is, probably no. Don’t get me wrong im big fan of the Roca brothers, despite them being fans of Barcelona football, (such big fans that they even had a dessert called Gol de Messi.)
At the end of the day list like the Pellegrino awards successful restaurants with long remarkable histories and strong self promotion. The list tells you what is good right now or what has been consinstenly good for decades, but sadly doesn’t help to highlight and predict the up and coming restaurant/chefs. Who are the future Can Roca’s or El Bulli’s Restaurants, that is certainly a list we would be interested in!
Let me explain this with something I learned from my University days as Rocket Science Engineer (who would have known this degree was going to be useful for something.) Product evolution follows a clear pattern, and can be represented by S Curve. The Restaurant scene, like any other product: phones, automobile, airplane engines, follows a similar pattern.
Conclusion: Some of the existing top restaurants on the “famous lists” have been developing and improving their original ideas/ concepts for quite a long time. They have opened similar concept restaurants around the World or local low cost versions of themselves. These top restaurants are considered by many to be “state of the art technology” and represent the benchmark of Excellence. Don’t get me wrong, they have been mastering techniques and improving with years, but most have passed stage 1 a long time ago the and are running into the saturation point…reaching the end of their product life-cycle.
These lists do a terrible job at showcasing the up and coming/breakthrough restaurants that will reinvent restaurant scene. If this was their focus than The Clove club would in the Top 50 along with In de Wulf, La Marine, DiverXo or Aponiente in Spain as well as many restaurants in Japan and Belgium. I’ll put money down that the much anticipated new LES restaurant Contra will also make this list.
Back to the Clove Club…
The Clove Club has taken the British local cuisine, already at a saturation point, and blended it with the chef’s rich learnings from their time at some of the tops restaurants in World ( Noma, Ledbury, St John ) This combination of technique and new thinking has created a breakthrough of a new kind of Brit dining model which is affordable, unpretentious and hip. A new model that gives them great potential to go beyond the limits of where British cuisine has been.
Chef Isaac McHale and 2 ex DJs, Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis (also know as The Young Turks) are responsible for this project. The Restaurant offers a reasonable fix priced menu, allowing the team to find the best ingredients, knowing food will not be wasted in an “a la carte menu” if customer don’t order it.
If the graphs and the preachy writing didn’t convince you of the quality of the food coming out of the Young Turks kitchen, then perhaps the food porn of the Carte Blanche menu we had back in April will. Enjoy!
The vegetable dishes were all brilliant especially the Fennel, the one of the highlights of the night.
After many successful pop-up restaurants like Upstairs in the Ten Bells or Le Fooding in NYC 2012, The Young Turks are ready for prime time at The Clove Club. One of the dishes that once made them famous at Ten Bells, the Buttermilk fried chicken and pine, is now just a delicious supporting character amongst the beautifully thoughtful vegetables in their inventive new tasting menu. The food here is strong and has a perspective one that is pushing lightyears beyond Britain’s cuisine past. If you are in London we highly recommend checking out this restaurant!
The Clove ClubShoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7729 6496