Clipstone is the little sister to Michelin-starred Portland, a restaurant which has gone from strength to strength in its Great Portland Street home. Their new one (they also own The Quality Chop House) keeps it in Fitzrovia but offers a more relaxed, and therefore cheaper, experience.
The space is lovely; it’s all pale colours and loads of natural light. There’s an open kitchen offering a smidgen of theatre. The door was left open and a breeze tickled my legs. I was as relaxed and comfortable in a restaurant as I’ve ever been.
To start, some house pickles (£3.50) which were a thing of beauty. We left them in the middle of the table to try with other dishes which was a lovely way to do it.
Lardo di Colonnata (£6), that’s piggy fat to you and I, came studded with sweet, sticky walnuts. Such a simple combination of flavours yet it was perfect in every way.
Crudo of char (£7) with yellow peach and cultured cream was light and delicate; the most ideal accompaniment for the Summer weather and my tickled legs. It felt like we’d stumbled across a hidden gem of a restaurant while on holiday.
Calves’ brain meuniere on toast (£9) was an interesting one which I couldn’t resist ordering. Rich would be the word here; the sauce drenching the soft, fatty brain was meaty and sticky beyond belief. We shared it which was just the right amount, any more and it would have been sickly.
To make use of the pizza oven left behind by the previous owners, there’s a sourdough flatbread section on the menu. We went for one topped with Ryefield cheese, courgette and honey (£10) which had a very dense bottom – you’ll want a steak knife. Again, the flavour combinations were spot on though.
Ravioli of hay-baked carrot and ricotta (£12) was a strong veggie dish – one of those which makes you not miss the meat. The pasta was wafer thin, the filling was sweet and it was all slathered in a buttery sauce. Need I say more?
For pud, the paris brest (£5) is one to order. Light, crisp pastry with a nutty, creamy filling. Clearly whoever made this likes their puddings.
We left Clipstone with a spring in our step, which is always a nice way to finish lunch. It’s a restaurant that has got it right straight away, like they’ve taken all they’ve learned from their previous restaurants and put it into making Clipstone. The food is all about flavour which is so often not the case these days.
Would we go back? Yes.