Friday 3 July 2009

Clissold Arms

I can't beat about the bush. This place was bad. Not only was it bad but it was expensive too, a combination of my two least favourite things. The reason we were there was a family gathering, we had originally planned to go to Cay Tre for some Vietnamese but my sister was getting married the next day and the opportunity arose to meet the groom's familly, so when duty calls..

The place is pretty generic looking: with long wooden tables, ornate lighting and muted colours. We were waiting for people to join us so we started off with some bread and olives both of which were unremarkable. What was noticeable is that we were not given any side plates and so had to drip olive oil everywhere whilst eating our bread. There other thing that should cause concern was that the menu was distinctly uninspiring. There was not really anything that any of us wanted to eat from either the starters and mains, which is unusual.

There were a variety of starters ordered. A smoked salmon starter ended up being a couple of piece of smoked salmon already dressed with a lot of salad leaves. Being Scottish I know that good smoked salmon needs nothing if a little lemon juice so the dressing was to my mind unnecessary and unadvertised. The tomato soup was declared good and seasoned perfectly. HI starter of potted shrimp whihc was passable in tjhat it was not a solid lump of butter but a bit underseasoned to my palate

The mains were again underwhelming, I had the pork loin with chorizo and spinach which turned out to be a huge chunk of tasteless meat, there had been little preparation put into the meat and the tomato confit was bland.

The steaks were also declared tasteless and chewy, even though asked for medium-rare.

the winner turned out to be the veggie tagliatelle with feta, tomatoes and walnuts.

For three people two starters, three mains, two beers, two ginger beers and a juice it came to £100 which to my mind was ridiculous. As you know, I don't mind spending money on food but it has to at least be tasty. There seems to be a huge variation in quality where gastropubs are concerned and in an area like East Finchley where there is not much competition, a place like the Clissold Arms will flourish, which is a shame as they could do with pulling their socks up. I don't think I am being harsh as we had a good example of what is possible from the Clerkenwell Green the very next day. I If anything they had the tougher deal, they were catering for 60 at a wedding, a 3 course sit down and the food was very good. Anyway I would not go back to the Clissold Arms and in fact would probably ask to go elsewhere..

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