Some of you may have heard of The Clove Club which sits over in Shoreditch and has been on my list for so long but still yet to make it down. As soon as I’d heard that the team behind the Shoreditch restaurant were opening a new one called Luca with an Italian focus I jumped at booking a table.
We grabbed Alice & Chris and headed down for a bit of pre-Xmas festivities. The kitchen is led by chef-owner Isaac McHale along with head chef Robert Chambers who’s worked at The Ledbury to name just one. The decor is incredibly stylish and felt very Mad Men, spacious tables with lots of wood throughout. The highlights of the restaurant were the little private dining rooms, one in particular which is within the pasta making space.
If you can persuade your company to share all the dishes then you get the chance to try as many wonders as possible. They do run in the familiar Italian theme of antipasti, pasta and then meat / fish main courses.
The menu is definitely not just hearty Italian food and they describe it as ‘British seasonal ingredients through an Italian lense’, intriguing. Let’s dig in to give you a flavour of what’s on offer. First up preserved peppers, spinach and salted cod, light with the salty fish adding all the important flavours. Our second dish was the turnip tops, samphire, smoked cod’s roe and sweet butter. Such an unusual dish but heavenly.
The pasta was a success all round. Of course dreamy pumpkin and chestnut ravioli with parmesan and sage emulsion cooked to perfection. We had to have two portions to prevent any fighting over the last pieces. Spaghettini with Morecambe Bay shrimp and and mace butter was simple but ever so flavoursome.
Now the really interesting one was the pheasant and mushroom agnolotti in broth. This was recommended to us by the Sommelier on the basis that apparently the only non-Italian chef in the kitchen who happened to be their pasta maker hates making agnolotti because it’s really fiddly and time consuming. Rather evil but I’m glad we ordered it, little meaty bursts of joy in a rich, silky, broth.
Mains just continued to keep us drowling, first up melt in the mouth Rump of Hereford beef stuffed with pancetta, chard, mushrooms and kale juice.
Then the fresh Wiltshire trout with herb butter, broccoli and potato terrine. Both so tasty.
Not quite bursting yet we shared two desserts, of course Baked chocolate mousse and prune kernel cream. Massive portion, definitely one for sharing. Then the simple hazelnut ice cream and salted caramel sauce.
It was a real stand out meal for us and a place that I would highly recommend to anyone. Perhaps not on the cheaper side but still fairly reasonable for a meal of that calibre. Itching to go back already, but perhaps first to The Clove Club.