The Clove Club

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of The Clove Club

Gold Award

The Clove Club is now firmly ensconced in the upper echelons of the gastronomic firmament, with world-class awards and gongs galore reflecting its runaway success. It should come as no surprise that main man Isaac McHale’s cooking is radical, unorthodox stuff, with the emphasis on daringly modern, multi-course tasting menus involving seriously sourced ingredients – although welcoming staff are on hand to describe the dishes very well.

A tasting menu here might feature white asparagus with ginger and duck ham to start, followed by a raw Orkney scallop with hazelnut, clementine and truffle. You might see Scottish langoustine with green tomato, or duck breast with rare citrus and endive. 

Prepare to be challenged as the kitchen applies its abstruse skills to startling, experimental concepts such as hay-smoked sea trout tartare in Pink Fir soup with Japanese sansho pepper or blood pudding with Braeburn apple and chicory relish or even pink-roasted Hebridean lamb embellished with prunes, mustard and mint.

McHale’s almost obsessive desire to push the envelope means that you may not necessarily ‘get’ every dish, but there’s undeniable brilliance and creativity at every turn – from the selection of little snacks to audacious sweet riffs like Amalfi lemonade paired with Sarawak pepper ice cream.

Occupying a prized pitch within Old Shoreditch Town Hall, the dining room is quite pretty (in a cosy but cool, minimalist kind of way) with plenty of chef-watching opportunities at the blue-tiled open kitchen, while the bustling corner bar is now a full-on destination with its own menu of funky cocktails and small plates including flame-grilled mackerel sashimi with English mustard and cucumber.

It’s also the kind of place where they offer soft drinks pairings as well as the standard wine-based options, and even lay on a bespoke ‘tea tasting’ during dry January. Yes, this restaurant is unlike anything else in London.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cool, Cosy, Fine dining, Quiet conversation, Quirky, Traditional, Unique, Widely spaced tables
SquareMeal London Top 100, Two Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Perfect for
Special occasions


The Clove Club is a relaxed fine dining restaurant, tucked away inside the Grade II-listed Shoreditch Town Hall in East London. The restaurant burst onto the London scene in 2013, and it has become one of the most awarded restaurants in the capital, scooping a heap of plaudits as well as two Michelin stars.

As you’d expect from a building like this, the dining room has a real sense of grandeur. High ceilings and towering windows make the room feel light, bright and almost palatial, whilst hardwood floors and pressed white tablecloths are sophisticated without feeling stuffy. The service matches, being both attentive but still friendly and easy going.

Led by chef-patron Isaac McHale, the team serves a precise, seasonal tasting menu that strips ingredients back to their essential elements. The restaurant goes far and beyond to source the best produce Britain has to offer, and presents that produce in its purest form. As well as the regular tasting menu, the restaurant also offers a vegetarian tasting menu, and a short tasting menu, which is available for lunch as well as for midweek dinner in the front room and at the bar.

Dishes on the tasting menu include Torbay prawn tartare with long pepper oil and pica lemon, sardine sashimi with ginger and chrysanthemum glaze, and grilled habanero granita with plum sorbet. Dishes are often inspired with McHale’s experiences, such as the Hazelwood grilled grouse sausage with bread sauce and clapshot, which is inspired by his upbringing on Orkney in Scotland.

An extensive wine collection accompanies the menus, and the wine list showcases some of the most exciting contemporary winemakers alongside a selection of fine, classical old world wines. A wine flight is also available to accompany the tasting menu.


Does the restaurant have a Michelin star?

The restaurant has two Michelin stars.

Helpful? 0

Who is the chef?

Isaac McHale.

Helpful? 0

Is there a non-tasting menu option?

No, all menus here are tasting menus.

Helpful? 0


380 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LT

020 7729 6496 020 7729 6496


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-13:30
Fri 12:00-13:30
Sat 12:00-13:30
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 18:30-20:30
Wed 18:30-20:30
Thu 18:30-20:30
Fri 18:30-20:30
Sat 18:30-20:30
Sun Closed


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21 Reviews 


08 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Best restaurant for a special treat.

Extremely beautiful food which could be intimidating without the incredibly friendly FOH.

Great som too

Shefali C

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5

Dana S

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Fabulous restaurant. Great food and lovely atmosphere. 

Wendy R

26 July 2019  
Exquisite, inventive, delicious food. Huge attention to detail on service, foot and wine.

Stuart D

02 July 2019  
Everything is pretty much perfect.

Raj R

24 April 2019  
The food is excellent and presentation is so good. The staff are very helpful and explain all the dishes when they come to the table.

Alex G

12 March 2019  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 2.5
Brilliant, but not the best

It is hard not to pre-judge the Clove Club. The venue is the highest ranked British restaurant in the annual San Pelligrino top-50 list. Maybe as a result of its fame, it is necessary to reserve a table for a weekend evening three months in advance and – in a first for this country – pay for it all upfront. Against this background, I seriously expect to be wowed. What my comrade and I learned, however, on a recent visit is that we should have followed the Michelin ranking. Put another way, while we loved our experience, we were not left awed by the food and felt that the price was not justified. One Michelin star tells you more than a #33 global ranking by San Pelligrino.

Sure, Isaac McHale (formerly of other super-star restaurants including The Ledbury, Noma and Eleven Madison Avenue) has done a wonderful job, both in terms of vibe and culinary wizardry. Fine dining should be fun, and the informality of the Clove Club goes a long way in dispelling the formal, almost reverent image that the term still connotes in some places. There are no starched tablecloths, snootily disdainful waiters or formal dress codes at the Clove Club – quite the contrary in all respects – but this remains an elitist experience. At £280/head, even for an 8-course tasting menu with paired wines, this is not for everyone. Shoreditch may be miles from Mayfair or Knightsbridge, but you still have to pay up mightily to enjoy the beauty of the renovated local town hall in which the Clove Club resides. Once at our wooden table in with a full view of the rest of the restaurant and its beautifully blue tiled open-kitchen, we waited to be impressed.

Our amuse-bouches set things off on a high note. A tiny brown crab tart with devilled spices was, for example, a sensation of delicate taste and served beautifully on a pebble-encrusted shell. Onto the first course and no complaints about my trout, although my vegetarian comrade was notably more disappointed with her dish. Even if it hid culinary excitement below, it was hard to dispel the unappealing sight of one radicchio leaf seemingly plonked on a plate to resemble a damp cloth. Throughout, there were undoubted flashes of brilliance with the raw Orkney scallop and perigord truffle – apparently a signature dish – lingering long after. I also loved my morels stuffed with wood pigeon sausage, snails and wild garlic, which combined a host of flavours and textures in an original and successful fashion. My comrade also loves morels, but it was not quite so easy, however, for her to get excited about a stuffing comprising breadcrumbs. For a restaurant that places a lot of emphasis on cooking with seasonal vegetables, it was sometimes hard not to feel that vegetarians were slightly short-changed.

Elsewhere, we could not fault the wines (some superb choices were shown, including a decadent 1996 Madeira) or the service (friendly and unpretentious, yet highly professional). Nonetheless, in the final reckoning – and when extras including service had been added to the bill – I felt I had got better relative value elsewhere.

Raj R

31 July 2018  
One of the best testing menu. The staff are very welcoming and describe the dishes very well.

Laura J

10 July 2018  
The food was incredible and service incredible. A must-visit.

Stuart D

27 June 2018  
Best food and service in London. End of.
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020 7729 6496 020 7729 6496

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