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Squaremeal Review of Clipstone ?

When chef Merlin Labron-Johnson’s Portland opened in 2015 it was an instant hit, with the eclectic, Anglo-European dishes bagging it a Michelin star. Labron-Johnson works in collaboration with Daniel Morgenthau and Will Lander and together, they’ve created one of 2016’s most-anticipated openings: Clipstone. This sister is a less ambitious (although no less enjoyable) venture, designed to be a high-quality Fitzrovia workhorse. Clipstone’s aesthetic of whitewash, gleaming tiles, wood furnishings and wraparound windows brings to mind Clerkenwell’s St John. The atmosphere is welcoming, supported by prompt but unhurried service. The menu spins through sharing plates and pizzas, taking a bistro-style approach with lower prices to match. Thick-cut crudo of char is enlivened by vibrant yellow peach, super-sweet tomatoes and raspberries in a savoury-bomb of fermented tomato consommé. Plump mussels poached in saké come with bouncy sourdough bread, a perfect magnet for the juices. The same dough becomes pizza, perhaps topped with clams, crème fraîche and garlic, but our highlight was top-spec Yorkshire hogget, blushing pink atop coco beans and girolles. Finish with Paris-Brest, a deliriously sweet, ridiculously enjoyable concoction of hazelnut praline and choux pastry that’s as Instagrammable as it is delicious. Unable to share one, we promptly ordered another. Wine punches way above its weight for such a casual format, with superb on-tap options including Château Pesquié Terrasses Rouge. As long as you don’t come expecting Portland mark II, you’ll find much to like about Clipstone: it’s the kind of relaxed, accomplished, good-value restaurant we’d all love on our doorstep.


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