Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant The Clove Club has announced that it will reopen its dining room on Tuesday 1 September, just short of six months since it closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it does reopen, owners Isaac McHale, Johnny Smith, and Daniel Willis will operate the restaurant for dinner Monday to Saturday from 6 p.m. and for lunch, Tuesday to Saturday from midday. “We are all so excited to get back to doing what we love, looking after people and creating special moments,” McHale said this morning.
Unlike other London restaurants which pivoted to new offerings, retailed provisions, or created new delivery brands during lockdown, The Clove Club has remained completely closed, and remained largely silent. Its modern European tasting menus and award-winning service was deemed unsuited to takeaway. Furloughed staff members had used the closure period to undergo further training, Willis told Eater early on in lockdown.
Its dependency on international gastrotourists and the globetrotting 50 Best and Michelin-star-collecting milieus rendered it vulnerable in much the same way as those fine-dining restaurants on the other side of the city, whose prospects look bleak. Some of the city’s most notable have said they see no path to reopening; others have announced their closure. McHale would not divulge details about the rent situation — the biggest issue to overcome for most operators — at the Clove Club, but said that there is a good relationship with its landlord.
Asked if he worried about the lack of tourism in London at the moment, he told Eater, semi-jokingly, that he had “worries about people leaving their houses,” more generally, but that he and the team were “really excited that there’ll be space for people to come and have celebrations — to come and dine with us.” McHale added: “there are plenty of people going out to eat in London restaurants.”
The team will open the restaurant having piloted a new set of safety measures and service protocols for the last month at sister site Luca, the Italian restaurant in Clerkenwell, and Two Lights on Kingsland Road. It’s partly that which has delayed the reopening of the Clove Club. “It made sense for us to open Luca first — there’s outdoor space and a lot more space there. We can take the lessons learned there. A lot of the proceedures and the way we want todo things have been ironed out,” McHale explained. “We know that what we do works, and that customers feel safe.”
While there’ll be a reduction in the number of tables, changes made to the layout of the dining room, and very limited numbers of diners at the bar (potentially separated by screens), the menu at the Clove Club will be largely unchanged. Sticking to the tasting menu format which has earned the restaurant its Michelin-starred and World’s 50 Best status, McHale said “we’re trying to open with a few familiar Clove Club dishes that people know and a few new ones,” which were currently in development. “We think there’s an appetite for [the tasting menu],” McHale said. He also explained how limitations on space in the kitchen meant doing an a la carte menu was logistically impractical.
The Clove Club has been fortunate not to have to make any redundancies, and will return with a full team, save for those who have returned to Italy and Sweden. Speaking to Eater from the Clove Club kitchen, McHale said: “We love what we do and we can’t wait to come back.”
The team is expected to make further announcements on future changes to the restaurant next month.
Check back then for more.