Open Mon–Thu 5pm–midnight; Fri 12pm–midnight; Sat 10am–midnight; Sun midday–11pm
The Clarendon is an attractive pub with eclectic, shabby-chic furniture and a fantastic hidden rooftop terrace which would suit small private parties perfectly. Inside, communal chunky wooden tables, mismatched leather chairs and gilded mirrors adorn the cosy pub.
On our visit there was only one other couple so it is hard to judge. However, my friend visited previously to find a private party on the attractive roof terrace. We spent most of our time wondering what exactly we had done to offend the staff to treat us so badly; they were miserable and unfriendly, not to mention unattentive. What’s more, they knew I was attending to review the pub.
There was only one other couple dining while we waited for our starter of pan-seared tiger prawns and crab linguine so how on earth did it take 40 minutes to arrive? When they did arrive they looked fantastic but we were dismayed to realise they were both luke warm. My prawns were a good size but lacking in flavour and were swamped in oil and bitter slithers of burnt onion. The accompanying prawn cake was delicious but overall the dish was a huge let down, especially after the unreasonable wait. My friend Michelle’s linguine was cooked perfectly – al dente with a generous amount of crab and a delicate seasoning, but was a struggle to eat with the provided knife and fork.
As the monosyllabic waiter cleared our plates we wondered how long it would take for him to realise he had left used cutlery strewn across the table.
He soon returned and gave Michelle a steak knife for her beef, before giving me one for my pork belly which I quickly explained I had not ordered. I should be having the sea bass I explained which was met with a grunt. A further half-hour wait and my pork belly arrived… ‘Ummm, excuse me what happened to my sea bass?’ The waitress looked at me dumbfounded. With time ticking on I agreed to settle for the pork belly but only managed a few mouthfulls of the overly fatty meat and bland creamed beans. The portion was generous with three good-sized chunks of pork. Unfortunately the crackling was forced, more of an impenetrable armour than the delicious crisp and chewy crackling it should have been sporting. Michelle’s beef was tender and flavoursome and again was a good-sized portion.
If I had time for a dessert I would have ordered the chocolate and peanut slice with salted caramel ice-cream but I did not have an hour to spare waiting for it.
Despite being seriously unimpressed with The Clarendon’s un-attentive service we were happy to see that their wine list offered no less than 18 wines by the glass. With bottles starting from £16 and escalating up to £190 (£280 for Champagnes) and glasses from £4, it is as affordable as it is varied. Downstairs they have four draught beers to choose from and a good selection of bottled beers, plus Michelle assured me that they also mix some fantastic cocktails.
The service was terrible and the food did not meet its full potential but with a stylish interior and lovely roof terrace The Clarendon could confidently compete with its neigbouring competitors but more attention to detail is definitely needed… The odd smile would be a good place to start.
Set menu: two courses £22 or three courses £25.