It has been a while since I have written a review – a combination of a fascinating but challenging new role at work coupled with a busy home life. However my recent visit to Clarette roused me out of my writing slumber and I left itching to share my experience with you!
Clarette is a stone’s throw from Chiltern Firehouse and occupies the site of the Tudor Rose pub that has been transformed into an elegant yet intimate space. Clarette comes with an impressive pedigree as the founders are Alexandra Petit, the heiress of the esteemed Chateau Margaux family and restaurateur Natsuko Perromat, formerly of Alain Ducasse.
Even though I visited during the opening week, the bar was full and had a very welcoming vibe. As expected the extensive wine list is predominantly French, sprinkled with some interesting new world wines and super Tuscans. Over fifty wines are available by the glass ranging from £4.50 to an eye watering £100. The upper floor will have more of a restaurant setting and will eventually have a separate menu.
The menu is concise but offers sufficient choice. The food is designed to complement the wine and there is a range of tapas, charcuterie and cheese plates as well as more substantial dishes. I particularly enjoyed the crab cakes accompanied by a vibrant guacamole and a perfectly cooked sirloin steak. The chargrilled cauliflower served with tahini and crunchy frites similarly went down a treat. A special mention must go to the homemade ketchup that was bursting with flavour. I did ask for the recipe but was told that it is a closely guarded secret of Clarette’s Argentinian chef!
Our son ordered the chocolate mousse that came garnished with coffee granules. It was pure decadence, so as responsible parents, we felt obliged to help him finish it. The mousse was almost too chocolatey and would benefit from a scoop of ice cream or a puddle of cream to temper the intensity of the chocolate.
The charming assistant sommelier, Emilie Sagot, helped us select a 2010 Clos du Rouge Gorge from a producer that she said respects the environment and produces excellent wine. The organic Rhone wine was a perfect blend of fruit and spice and its characteristics continued to evolve as the evening progressed. As Emilie predicted, the wine complemented the steak beautifully.
I won’t profess to be a wine expert but I am an enthusiastic student so was keen to chat to the Master Sommelier, Jess Kildetoft. Jess explained that they want to appeal to all palates and wallets. The wine list has been curated to show case a wide range of styles as well as the jewel in their crown – the Margaux, that come directly from the vineyards although Clarette is independent from the Chateaux.
I asked Jess what his ideal wine is. Not surprisingly he answered “Margaux, of course as it is the most feminine, refined and complex.” Just like the perfect woman I guess!
I recommend Clarette for drinks with friends or for a romantic rendezvous. The pavement terrace will be a perfect place to sip a cocktail or a glass of fizz when the weather is fine. I do hope they stock my favourite Domaines Ott rosé. The ambience, food, knowledgeable service and of course the wine make Clarette a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood. I may have found my new “local”.
44 Blandford Street,
London W1U 7HS
Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ restaurant reviewer. Nuzy lives in Marylebone with her husband and nine year old son. She is a technology lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more than trying out restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.