Former Young Turk Isaac McHale had hoped to have his London restaurant The Clove Club open by November, but the chef says that the team is now looking at a mid-February debut. In a phone conversation earlier today, McHale revealed some new details on the project, which he's collaborating on with Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith. It will be housed in Shoreditch Town Hall, a heritage building in the now-hip East London.
The restaurant, which in total fits around 90 diners, will be divided into two spaces. One, the more formal back room, will feature an open pass (McHale says it's similar to the one in place at Isa, in Brooklyn). There, McHale will serve diners five-course tasting menus at 46£. "This format will allow me to insert a few of the riskier dishes which you might not have people order with an à la carte option," says McHale. "'It allows us to showcase dishes with more interesting cuts or rare ingredients."
The front room, The Bar, will be a casual restaurant serving shareable small plates. McHale is hoping to age hams and meats underground, since there's plenty of space for it, once the restaurant gets going. He is, however, most excited about the chicken tasting menu he'll be offering four diners a night at the counter of the front room. Inspired by meals at yakitori restaurants like Tori Shin in New York, the meal will be made up of McHale dishes that incorporate parts of the chicken that are usually only available in limited quantities at Japanese restaurants — heart, oysters, etc. It will feature 100-day aged chickens ("that gives you the chicken flavor people claim we've lost," says McHale) at around 45£ per person. Here's a preliminary menu:
devilled chicken skin
grilled hearts in marmalade crisp
buttermilk fried chicken & pine salt
Salad of chicken offal, hazelnuts,, and preserved cardoons
Grilled roscoff onions, chicken oysters, Parsley and Jus Gras
crisp wings, savory, and leeks in riesling butter
Braised neck, jerusalem artichoke and lemon balm
Roast breast, oat groats, nettles and almonds
Broth with coarse liver paste and dumplings
Since McHale doesn't want to overwork his staff, he'll be doing a simple, canteen-style lunch program. People will be able to come in and choose between one or two basic, cheap, and fortifying dishes. "We have a lot of artists, DJs, and creative people in the neighborhood," says McHale, "and I think this is what most people would prefer at that hour."
Stay tuned for more details. For an earlier interview with McHale, see here.