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Posts for the 'Clerkenwell' Category


Brasserie Malmaison

Brasserie Malmaison in the Malmaison Hotel in Clerkenwell has a lovely little spot overlooking the adorable greens of Charterhouse Square. A self-styled luxury hotel, the Victorian exterior of the hotel is charming and inviting. The limited road access to the hotel also helps to ensure low noise levels.

Once inside, you hit the lobby, and to the right are stairs leading down to Brasserie Malmaison in the basement. In contrast to the exterior, the restaurant’s décor looked tired and the lighting could have been better.

We started with a reasonably priced Cornish crab starter (£9.50). There was a lovely fresh, sweetness in the crab which had been dressed with a mint and shallot dressing. However deep-fried avocado fritters proved bland. The dish would have worked better with a no-frills simple accompaniment of ripe avocado.

Crab salad

Crab salad

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St John – Visit # 2

My last visit to St John saw us tucking into their roast suckling pig. It was all rather yummy, but I still maintain, as I did in that write up, that I cannot understand why this restaurant holds a place in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (currently 41st). St John also has a Michelin star, another fact which I find beggars belief. It might serve head to tail cooking, but its hardly refined or technical cooking. It’s good for a pleasant dinner out, but that’s about it.

I was quite adventurous and went for the pig’s spleen (£7) which was served rolled with bacon. This was my first foray into spleen which was similar in taste to very strong liver. Not particularly enjoyable, its flavour was very powerful which necessitated lots of pickles. This was not a dish for the faint of heart.

Rolled pig's spleen & bacon

Rolled pig's spleen & bacon

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Bistro du Vin Clerkenwell

Bistro du Vin Clerkenwell recently opened in London and will be the first of several restaurants to open up as part of the Hotel du Vin chain. The restaurant is welcoming, with a warm bistro-y feel. The décor is rustic and charming, with chalky grey and bluish tones. The walls are dotted with wine memorabilia, the fireplaces and corner pieces are stacked with decorative bottles and there is a strong use of wood throughout the restaurant. The intention is to provide a neighbourhood retreat, and Bistro du Vin has done this well. Diners have the option of eating at the pewter-topped bar (the longest dining bar in London) that circles the restaurant’s open kitchen, or to dine al fresco under during the warmer summer months. And of course, there is the option of eating at one of the many tables inside the cozy retreat.

We dined as guests of the restaurant and started with a Chase marmalade vodka martini (£10), a specialty of the house, which was damn good. This was followed by a some of the oysters on offer – fine de Claires (£3.50) and Cornish (£2.50) which were both delicious and fresh. But it was the former which won my heart with its robust meatiness.

Oysters

Oysters

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