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Clerkenwell Dining Room: Clerkenwell Dining Room - near Farringdon
I really wanted to like the Clerkenwell Dining Room. Friends had enjoyed it, the menu sounded good, and I am a fan of their sister restaurant, The Chancery. I think I should have stuck to The Chancery.
Ok, it wasn't all bad. For example, the starters were nice. We had the Octopus Carpaccio, braised baby octopus, squid, lemon and rosemary dressing; and the Crab chowder, crab dumplings, sweet corn and basil oil. The octopus was very well received, and the chowder was good but under-seasoned.
Main courses we had were the Sea bass, scallop ravioli, artichokes, asparagus, tomato consommé; the Lamb Rump, provencal vegetables, samossas and balsamic jus; and the Rabbit saddle, potato puree, baby leeks, wild mushrooms and herb sauce. The lamb was really delicious… unfortunately I didn't order it. I had the sea bass which was disappointing - it sounded good on paper, but the tomato consommé was bland and watered down all the other flavours. Dessert was almost a success - the Lemon curd tart, lemon confit and coconut sorbet was nicely presented, but the tart was a little too gooey. Did like the sorbet though.
Favorite Dish: While most of the food we had was nice, the service really put a dampener on the evening. There were about 6 staff racing about, all apparently serving the same tables which lead to confusion and duplications, not to mention endlessly annoying water top-ups. Many of the staff didn't appear to understand English, and stared blankly at us when a request was made. We were all irritated more and more as the meal progressed.
But the biggest mistake was when they gave the remainder of our wine to another table… They had the white wine from all tables sitting in coolers to one side - I noticed them trying to write our table number on the label of our wine initially, but their system fell apart and our wine disappeared. At one stage they mistakenly bought over a couple of new glasses and then a half-finished bottle of someone else's wine. When we told them it wasn't ours they then took it to another table and started pouring.
When the manager bought over our bill she asked how our meal had been. We then mentioned the issue with the wine and she looked shocked. She hurried off and we dug out cash/cards to pay the bill and prepared to leave. The manager returned with glasses of champagne for all of us by way of apology. To be honest I was horrified. Ok, it may have been a nice gesture, but we had finished our meal, and just wanted to pay and get out of there. Only one of us valiantly forced down a half glass of champers...
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