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!!!