A second Fitzrovia restaurant from the duo behind acclaimed Portland.
I’m starting to think that Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau own property in Fitzrovia. A year and a half after opening Portland (a relaxed yet stylish restaurant on Great Portland Street), they’ve opened Clipstone, which is – you’ve guessed it – a relaxed yet stylish restaurant on Clipstone Street. Local estate agents must be high-fiving them in the road.
Clipstone, you see, is the kind of restaurant we’d all want in our ’hood. It’s the kind that if you were thinking of moving house (or, more realistically, office – because who can actually afford to live in central London?) and you spotted it, you’d think ‘ooh, that looks nice, I’d like to go for lunch there’. Rather than being revolutionary, it’s quietly chic and interesting.
The food is contemporary European, of the seasonal variety: there are small plates, larger plates, a selection of ‘cold cuts and crudos’ and sourdough flatbreads (with chi-chi toppings like clams, parsley and crème fraîche). All of it is good, but a handful of dishes really tra-la-la: the simplicity and clean flavours of char (a cold-water fish more common in Scandinavia), say, served skin-off and ‘crudo’ (as in, raw) with curls of mandolin-thin peach slivers, blobs of cultured cream and a drizzle of fruity olive oil. Or the stand-out dish, in part because the main ingredient is on the cusp of a comeback: calves brain meuniere. Look, I know what you’re thinking. I can just feel your collective ‘ewww’, but trust me on this one. It may be small and brown, like some uninstagrammable throwback from the ’70s, but after one bite, you’ll be converted: the ‘meat’ – let’s call it that, so you can stop dwelling – is delicate in flavour, silky in texture, with just a hint of wobble. The glossy mahogany sauce rich, intense and moreish. The toast soaks it all up.
Other things – pickled baby veg, beautiful ravioli filled with hay-baked carrot and ricotta – are equally lovely. But just as it was getting going, Clipstone ran out of steam. Macerated strawberries with butter crumbs and white chocolate cream was fairly forgettable, the Paris Brest (a wheel-shaped filled choux pastry, inexplicably trendy right now) too cloying to enjoy.
But, you know, bagatelles. Because Clipstone, with its clued-up, genial staff and good-value wine, is the very model of the smart-casual neighbourhood hangout. And sometimes, that’s all you want.
5 Clipstone Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm, 6-10pm; Sat 11am-3pm, 6-10pm; Sun closed.|
|Transport:||Tube: Great Portland Street|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £95.|
|Do you own this business?|