The Duke of Clarence, Chelsea
Not being a Chelsea fan I dislike wandering into their territory especially on the night of a Champions League match. However I’ve heard great things about ‘The Clarence’ and I’m not going to pass up the opportunity. Arriving I find that even on a Wednesday with sports on they are fully booked and there are no tables available for the evening.
So taking my seat with all the smugness of Teresa May before this year’s election I glance down at the menu. The lamb ribs with Kim chi immediately catch my eye as does the haddock kedgeree and the Buttermilk chicken. My waitress literally tells me don’t be so dull and that Freekeh charred cauliflower, Nutbourne tomato capers, dill, pickled chilli salad are what the cool kids are having these days. It is at that moment that Atletico, take the lead, and I take her up on it so long as Justin Bieber isn’t going to be played and I have to bop. I’m glad because she was right it was easily the best starter and I could also see it as a substantial main vegetarian dish. The taste was sublime and reminded me how good brassicas can be. To confirm that I made the right choice Morata equalised and the pub cheer went up. My buttermilk chicken and kim chi lamb were fine, nicely flavoured but lacked the wow factor. Just like the football match it’s a game of two halves and I have a new waitress for the main course
The steak is what the Clarence is known for and I eye the rib eye and its all over. Opting for the bone marrow butter I feel that a lipid heavy meal is just what I need. I’m not a fan of fries with steak, I prefer a good old thick chip, the fries were OK and the steak is melt in your mouth brilliant, but is alas one pinch of salt over for my liking a great shame especially as my wine partner of Shiraz Viognier really hits the spot.
So time added on is announced as my twin deserts of ginger steamed pudding with vanilla ice cream and Rosemary treacle tart with whiskey cream arrives. Both are amazing and I would have a tough time picking one over the other however it is the ginger pudding with its warmth that wins, its that kiss of spice with the match made in heaven of ice cream that delights. The Rosemary flavour in the tart made it a little unusual and pleasant. As the meal draws to the close Batshuayi score the winner for Chelsea and the pub shakes with excitement.
Much like the match I’m glad the Clarence food came from behind to win and I’ll come again, but less salt please it really was just that that would have made the food merely excellent.