‘Modern British’ is how Isaac McHale describes his restaurant The Clove Club. And he is spot on, as all of the produce he uses is sourced from the British Isles – chiefly from Scotland. The Clove Club is housed in Shoreditch Town Hall: a building which dates back to 1865 and lies in the heart of a multicultural district which brings together art, culture and cuisine, making it the perfect stage for the creations of The Clove Club’s ambitious team.
Inside, guests are greeted with a Spartan arrangement of dark wooden furnishings, bright walls, tall windows, high ceilings and an open, sky-blue tiled kitchen, where diners are welcome to watch over the shoulders of McHale and his chefs as they craft their masterpieces.
And masterpieces they are, unmistakeably composed of British ingredients. McHale planted one such ingredient directly in the restaurant’s garden himself: with the air of a proud parent showing off baby photos on their smartphone, McHale proudly presents a photo of his hand-grown baby radishes.
We have some of the best produce here in the UK – but high quality fruit and vegetables can be difficult. With our garden, we can take matters into our own hands.
Born in the Scottish archipelago of Orkney, he began his career aged 14, starting out as a labourer for a fishmonger. He came to understand the complexity of a restaurant’s processes during his school days, working as a kitchen porter at various Glaswegian restaurants. Following stints at Marque in Sydney and Noma in Copenhagen, he ended up back in London working under Tom Aikens at The Ledbury. In 2011 he and some friends set up the internationally acclaimed Young Turks collective, which put on hugely popular pop-up events in and around London. The Clove Club finally opened its doors in 2013, and he and his colleagues quickly set about escalating it to the pinnacle of British haute cuisine. Since then, the Club has picked up a Michelin star, and placed at number 26 in the ‘World’s 50 Best Restaurants’.
The best way to describe The Clove Club is ‘down to earth’:
We really wanted to make something that was personal to us, a restaurant for our generation
And in The Clove Club, he has certainly succeeded: a place where guests can feel at home, where they are personally looked after while enjoying high quality food. “You have to make time for your guests and really interact with them. We’re very good at that.”
But it’s not only the service that impresses – the menu put together by the Scotsman has diners in raptures. Raw Orkney scallops served with hazelnuts, clementines and black truffle, followed by a traditional Yorkshire suckling pig seasoned with south Indian spices – the 36-year-old chef’s experimental side colliding wonderfully with home-grown British produce.
Those who wish to delve into the flavours of McHale’s island creations will get the chance in May 2017, when the chef will be working his magic at Restaurant Ikarus in Hangar-7.
ServusTV: Culinary Heights at Ikarus on ServusTV
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.