Clissold Arms

105 Fortis Green , London, N2 9HR

10 reviews

37 Gastropub East Finchley

  • Clissold Arms
  • Clissold Arms
  • Clissold Arms

SquareMeal Review of Clissold Arms

It may sound like a pub, but the Clissold Arms has galloped down the gastro route, so its large premises are now far more about cuisine than quaffing. The place continues to attract comment, both adverse (service can get overstretched) and favourable (food is rated highly). Tables are covered in white linen, and the kitchen takes seasonal British ingredients and gives them a fancy French twist. Dishes such as figs stuffed with goats’ cheese with honey truffle dressing show creativity and flair, as do mains of parsley and Gruyère-crusted cod with wilted spinach and saffron broth, and a ‘mouthwatering’ lemon and lavender crème brûlée for dessert. The lovely sunny garden to the side (complete with fleecy blankets to ward off evening chills) and the Kinks room at the front (the pub hosted the band’s first gig) fill with satisfied locals every weekend.

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7.4

Food & Drink: 7.8

Service: 7.2

Atmosphere: 7.1

Value: 6.9

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 4.0

Sue R. 25 June 2016

This place has rave reviews and claims to be the best voted family pub for the last 2 years. Sadly, the place did not suit my expectations. It was noisy and chaotic. Kids running everywhere (family pub after all) and although the food looked quite nice, the rare roast beef was so chewy my food was cold by the time I had chomped through it. I should have asked to have it cooked a bit more but in great British silence I suffered. I can see why it's popular but it wasn't for me. I won't be going back. On a positive note, it's a kicking and lively place with loads going on and if you like that sort of thing it's an "excellent".

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Hanna O. 31 May 2016

I researched pubs in Muswell Hill and based on the reviews we chose Clissold Arms over a couple of other pubs in the area. The staff were friendly enough and the pub has a fairly mixed crowd. It's quite a large pub though so I thought it lacked a bit of atmosphere. We ordered the beef and chicken roasts and both were served within 3 min of ordering! Felt a bit like being served in a canteen! The food was pleasant enough but actually quite tasteless and bland. It seems to be a popular pub but I have definitely had better roasts elsewhere.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Rachael W. 08 March 2014

This is such an attractive venue – lovely garden lit by fairy lights, and a warm atmosphere inside. The service was prompt and attentive at the beginning and the food was good – nothing earth shattering but well done – the lamb cutlets were perfect. But I didn't know when I booked that they have started a Karaoke Night on Fridays. I am sure if you are with a group, have had a few drinks it is a great laugh – but for people sitting outside the room it is loud and awful. If I wanted live music to accompany my meal I would go to Ronnie Scotts, not listen to the drunken squawking of an amateur. I wanted to have a good chat with an old friend. It wasn't the place for that. My advice – ask whether they are doing Karaoke before you book.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 25 July 2012

At last we've had some hot weather and wanted to go out for dinner and be able to sit outside. We know the Clissold from many times before, but haven't been there recently. We got a table outside and had a lovely evening, it seemed pretty full with many other people having the same idea – mostly trying to avoid being caught up in the Torch relay and road diversions. The outside space is set back from the road so away from traffic, the waiting staff are always welcoming, there are 3 TV's under cover for those who want to watch the sport, but it's not intrusive if you're not interested. Tables are set with butter, oil and balsamic for dipping, and bread is brought – yes it does look like tiger bread but there was a better granary as well. We had asparagus to start – nice warm chunky spears with a bit of hollandaise and a cold soft boiled egg. The barbecue was going so we went for lamb kebabs with tzatziki and potato salad, which comes with a basic iceberg lettuce garnish on the side. The lamb was tasty, the courgette OK, the aubergine chewy. The food was good – we enjoyed it and someone else was dealing with the smoke and standing over the coals. Most people seemed to be choosing the lamb, steaks or cold poached salmon though the menu is wider than this. We've had more distinctive food there in the past, but this was perfect for a summer evening.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

HEW 06 May 2012

Having meant to try this pub for quite a long time I finally managed to get there & was not disappointed. I went on the Saturday night of Easter & so the restaurant wasnt full but there were sufficient diners to create an atmosphere. Service was friendly, helpful & good but not exceptional. Food was very good & there was a great choice. Will definitely be going back & great to have a very good restaurant locally. I would recommend

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Christine W. 25 April 2012

I've experience The Clissold for many events, ranging from dinner for 2, lunch, 40th birthday party for 30 in the private terrace (excellent night with perfect, timely service), drinks for large parties of cackling women, drinks for a discerning (!) few! The food is always great, sometimes brilliant, the service & attention to detail exceptional, the staff really approachable & friendly and the environment (inside & outside) comfortable & relaxing. I'd heartily recommend the Clissold for any/every social occasion. The negative reviews I'd take with a pinch of salt, every restaurant has blips, I've been loads of times & have only ever had a great experience!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Grenouille bronze reviewer 20 October 2011

It is telling that despite the pretty average ratings I gave it, I keep coming back to the Clissold Arms. It is just the only pub option in Muswell Hill if you want a nice pub lunch with a baby especially if it is a nice day and you want to seat outside. Food wise, the food is pretty good but overpriced for a pub and this area. Also it seems to me that the menu of specials never changes and we always end up with the fish and chip, the fish cakes or sometimes the bavette steack which are all very good but what about some new stuff from time to time some game or nice pork belly or whatever else you can find in a good gastro pub. My main gripe would be with the service which I think is not great. There is one older guy always there looking unhappy with a tie (not sure if he is the owner but if he is he should make more of an effort) and some East European waitresses who do not give you a strong sense of warmth. I would not say it is terrible but does not make you feel very welcome. On the back of other review they can be slow with the bill but I have no pb going to the bar to pay straightaway and leave quickly which you sometimes want to do with a bored 15 month old. However the garden is a very nice place to have lunch on a nice day (with new synthetic grass which baby loved walking on) and the dining room at the front is very comfy and cozy. Beer selection is good and I never tried the wine list as I usually stick to beers in pub so can't comment. In conclusion this place has the potential to be THE place in Muswell Hill if they just could try a bit harder. You could even overlook the fact it is overpriced if the service was better and the menu a bit more varied and in season (or at least changing during the year). I would still recommend it though Speaking of chips which seems to be a theme on the link of reviews, we always order a bowl of chips on the side for the baby and they are very good but I do remember one occasion a while ago when we were told we could not order chips on the side and you could only get chips if it was part of your meal. It seems a while ago though and we never had the issue since.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Pa C. bronze reviewer 05 January 2011

I hadn't realised until I read the reviews for the Clissold that there was an issue with Chips. For the record I ate here on New Years Eve and we ordered 2 bowls of chips as sides, the manager didnt swear at the chef, the waitress didn't put her fingers all over the cutlery and the wine wasn't too expensive for the glasses. The Clissold is a great gastropub and most people go there it seems to eat rather than to drink which tells you something about the food, which is very good. I wouldn't say that it offers great value but to be honest when the food, service and atmospehere is this good its worth it.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

T. S. 08 November 2010

Finally got to post this review after a culmination of being away on holiday, work commitments and half term break. I dined with my family at clissold arms on Saturday 9th october for lunch. It was busy as usual with lots of other families and couples with young children. (Now before i start i do stress that im only writing this especially after so long ,as to what i witnessed and heard on this occassion which was not good.) As said it was busy ,we were seated near the kitchen and towards the terrace. Everything was going well if a little bit chaotic and rushed but we didnt mind too much. However what we did mind was the in- house fighting that suddenly occured right near us between the chef in the kitchen and the manager with the- how shall i put this 'funky hair cut" was disgusting. The manger swore twice at the chef and i quote “ well this is the shit staff ive gotta put up with” pointing at various members of his own staff. The chef precededed to shout back and say something like “and you call me patronising, your a fucking joke for a manager and everybody knows it”. I dont know the ins and outs of restaurants but i know from t.v programmes that its tough and stressful but totally unforgivable for managers and chefs to swear in the restaurant with children and families about. And what of the poor girls that work for this manger to listen to him openly criticising and swearing at them like that. Maybe the manager in question with the haircut that would suit more a nightclub owner or waiter in a nandos should look at himself before reading the riot act at his staff! I will say that we do love the clissold arms because its the food that is the star of the show by a long shot but after this episode and with a new french restaurant newly opened in highgate that had great smart service and a carluccios about to open then the clissold need to sort there house out. We will be back at the clissold because of the outstanding food and great venue but the clissold and its management need to up there service and management to stay ahead of the game cos there are new boys coming to town now!!!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

dexter b. 21 July 2010

Went for a meal at the Clissold arms on Saturday 17 July with my wife and 2 friends on the recommendation from 3, yes 3 different people!! We arrived at 8pm after being strongly advised to book a table by friends for Saturday night and especially at this time. Thank heavens we did as the place was full and a couple were turned away (presumably without a booking) just before we were shown our seats. We were shown through the restaurant to which the Clissold refer to as the Terrace, which is a cosy outside eating area which is covered to stop the elements(if there had been any) and which is adjacent to the Garden eating area and the Inside Dining area. The Terrace was almost full with diners of almost regal appearance, men and women dressed smartly and sophisticated (as if they were dining at a top restaurant in the west end), but nothing over the top. luckily and to my wife's pleasure and absolute smugness she was wearing here blindingly expensive shoes and bag to match , she in turn made me wear my smart suit jacket and had me buff, yes buff my shoes up for the night. Which I tried to reject out of hand as it was just a" Gastro pub in East Finchley". I should really listen to her more on these sorts of issues!!! Any how as we sat we were offered menus and complimentary water from a jug was poured, which I found a nice touch, and took our drinks order. As we Grazed at the menu we were literally blown away at what sort of food was on offer . Dishes I could remember were Half Lobster garlic butter, (which you could also have with your steak) , Crab Ravioli, Seafood Bisque, Scallops & Black Pudding, Red Mullet, whole Corn fed Baby Chicken, Ox Tongue with (I cant remember now), Scottish Sirloin, Oysters 3 ways and so on. Well most of us could not decide but in the end as it seemed like an occasion I plumped for half lobster to start with my wife having crab ravioli and our friends having warm Asparagus & Hollandaise and Foie Gras Terrine and Sauternes and Toast. Our Wine came and was offered to taste and then poured for us, the Girl pouring did seem a little nervous I have to say but the wine was lovely. After 10 minutes or so Starters arrived- and by gosh were they all presented magnificently- My Lobster came served in its Shell with Dressed Leaves and was divine and cooked beautifully. My Wife was Begging me to try her Crab as she said was so good- but you see I know her tricks,She was angling for some of my Lobster in exchange. And I grudgingly gave her a morsel of my Lobster!! But the Crab was I have to say beautiful. I cant speak for our 2 friends dishes but they said it was also fantastic especially the Foie Gras!!! Our Plates were cleared but we were informed that there was a 30 minute wait for our mains as it was absolutely full and the kitchen had a back log. We could only Imagine, as the place was Heaving with Diners so we were content to wait and enjoy the lovely atmosphere that we were engulfed in. And as it turned out we only had to wait no more than around 20 minutes so that was a nice surprise!! I opted for Sirloin steak medium rare so did my friend they were cooked to perfection and was so tasty. My wife had the Cod with some sort of crust on top and bisque and again she marvelled at the cooking. And Red Mullet finished the quartet. By now it was gone 9 and it was still full with more diners arriving, everybody seemed to have smiles on there faces and were enjoying themselves. Well I had not read any reviews of this place thus far but just seeing the 2 reviews that did not seem to have a good time and complaining about the lack of chips and the service. This is our take on our experience of those issues concerned. Chips were not on the menu as a side dish so we did not even think to want to order any. But the chips that came out with our steaks were superb. Service seemed a little chaotic from a distance with it being so busy you could understand and the majority of staff did seem young but our personal service was fine. Yes some attention to detail in service could be made a little more but I am only knit picking , this is only because I felt like I was eating some of the best food I have had in such a long time and I was warranting more than the “gastro- pub” status in service ( The food was like eating at those expensive west end restaurants.) So to those 2 reviews who had such a terrible time, the Clissold seem to be putting many many smiles on peoples faces and by the looks of Saturday when it was packed are doing something very well on a consistent basis. Maybe go again and not think about the chips to much!!! Oops I am starting to sound like a rebellious teenager with a placard held high on the picket line supporting the Clissold- what would my mother think! Right back to the night. Mains were cleared and dessert menu followed. we were all full and busting at the seems but my wife and I had to try the Pear Tart Tatin (to share) with the help of our friends of course. It was Just Heaven, mounds of butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream to compliment. Fabulous finish on what was a breathtaking experience. The Chef certainly knows his/her stuff!!! We Stayed a little longer, Blankets were provided if we got the chills and the small little blue lights were switched on to give that extra feel of being somewhere totally other than on a stretch of road between Muswell hill and east Finchley!!! The bill came to just a few pounds over £200 (service charge included) and it was money well spent for what we got. We will definitely be back and we hear Sunday lunch is considered the best around too- so we will see you then!!! Regards Dexter

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