Today, there is a lot of unnecessary faff submerged in London's restaurant scene. Single-ingredient concepts, two-continent fusion menus, and let's not mention 'no-bookings', get over it already. Sometimes, we forget about how lovely fabulous food served by an equally fabulous team is.
Soho's 10 Greek Street is an example of the latter, younger sister to 8 Hoxton Square, and somewhere I've whiled away many an afternoon running fluidly into evening; my birthday in the PDR downstairs springs to mind. Then we have Quality Chop House and THOSE confit spuds. Death-row dinner right there.
As often is the case in our industry, talent comes together and creates a hybrid of gorgeousness. Enter Portland, which I adored when it opened in early 2015. I wasn't surprised when it scooped a star, although WAS surprised to find prices hiked up on my return. Look, I'm always happy to fork out £30 for some fish, but don't expect to be sat on a wooden bench when doing so. Anyway, hats off to the lads as last year they flung open the doors of their second restaurant, Clipstone; an even more casual neighbourhood setup in the 'hood.
I'm charging from work in an uber as it's lashing, god bless year-round spring showers. Traffic is pig and I rock up a laughably 45 mins late. Thank goodness I'm meeting my gorgeously understanding girlfriend Jane, who has cured meats and, more importantly, fizz awaiting my arrival. Yes, Jane is a star bar and no, you can't keep her. Said meats are a fatty saucisson-style salame and a more enjoyable wafter-thin ham. A precarious selection of pickles cuts through the richness of it all wonderfully.
As often is the case, I get overexcited about ALL the small plates, like big bold asparagus with just-ripe apricots, and taste sensation that is char crudo swimming in pungent cucumber and oyster emulsion. My unexpected highlight is ox heart tartare with punchy anchovies and mustard seeds adding bite, whilst a plate of globe and Jerusalem artichokes sitting amidst a dollop of creamy ricotta steals the best-dressed gong.
Well-fed and, thoroughly well-watered (wine on tap, people), we don't even make it onto the grill section but it's always good to leave something to come back for isn't it?
Five Very Kerri things about Clipstone;
- Raw delights like crudo and tartare
- Somewhere you'll always try something new
- FIZZ. ON. TAP
- The wine list
- No-faff food