Bully for good English fare at The Clarence, Whitehall

05 Jul 2016

I decided to ‘treat’ my boyfriend and take him for a birthday meal. Ok, so this was a review, but I promise I had bought him a number of presents too! He’s not really into ‘fancy’ food, so The Clarence seemed like a great casual after-work dinner venue.

A traditional British pub from the outside and steeped in history since 1862, The Clarence looked like the kind of place that if the walls could talk, there would be some amazing stories to be told! Inside, wooden beams kept up the traditional feel and a fabulous bulldog lampshade reminded you that you were in the heart of London. A stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament, Winston Churchill is said to have frequented the establishment and his legacy is apparent, ever so subtly throughout the venue.

As we sat down, I couldn’t help but (happily) notice the extensive selections of wines behind the bar. We enjoyed the Colecccion Privada Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, which was beautifully crisp and extremely easy to drink! A good start.

The menu was a hearty mix of pub staples with a gastropub type twist. I am partial to a good terrine, and anything with ‘truffle’ in, instantly has me sold, so I was a tad disappointed that the Terrine of Guinea Fowl, Smoked Rabbit and Oxsprings Ham with Truffle Oil (£8) had sold out. Disappointingly, I found this out when my boyfriend’s Garlic Buttered Wild Mushrooms and Poached Egg on Toast (£7.25) was being served. In a rush to decide what else I should order, the staff were seemingly as unfamiliar with the menu as I was, so after an unconvincing response as to what ‘Lincolnshire Poacher*’ was, I opted for an Artisan Bread Board with Butter (£4) and a Haggis Scotch Egg (£4) from the bar snack menu. One of life’s little pleasures is the oozy yolk from a beautifully crafted scotch egg – unfortunately this one was a little hardboiled but an adequate scotch egg nonetheless.

As an indecisive diner, I frustrate the hell out of my boyfriend. That being said, the Dorset Lamb Three Ways (£14) is a great choice for anyone with a wavering mind! Almost three meals in one, you are served lamb rump, seared liver and shepherd’s pie – the different textures of lamb work incredibly well both together and on their own. It seemed far better than the Casserole of Venison Sausage with Lancashire Bomb Mash (£12.75) that my boyfriend had, which is essentially a pimped up sausage and mash.

Although the size of our main courses was generous, there was room for dessert! We shared a sweet and savoury option, first sampling the rich, gooey Dark Chocolate Brownie with Salted Caramel Ice cream (£6.50) to hit that sweet spot and then devouring The Clarence Cheese Plate (£9) for the savoury hit. It was always going to be a winner with decent sized portions of Rosary Goat’s Cheese, Cropwell Bishop Stilton and Lancashire Bomb Cheddar.

Overall, this well placed pub by Trafalgar Square is reasonably priced – a rare find in Central London and one for an after work drink and a few nibbles.

*I later Googled ‘Lincolnshire Poacher’ discovering that it is a type of cheese.


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