This is a review of Clos Maggiore voted by Time out has the most romantic restaurant in London. As an editor of a luxury travel website I often experience very delectable and luxurious destinations. However when I was told for my birthday I would be going to Clos Maggiore, I really could not contain the excitement. Just take a look at the photo above, dining under thousands of fairy lights and a roaring wood fire surely is every person’s dream. For those of you who have yet been lucky enough to experience this restaurant, I’m going to take you through feelings, atmosphere and the service that this restaurant provides.
What makes a restaurant stand out?
I have many qualms about restaurants, it’s quite frequent to have the best atmosphere in the world but a service lagging well behind. This will always leave a bitter taste which the atmosphere can never fix. On the contrary you may have a very poor atmosphere but have a stellar service yet this still doesn’t add up to an overall high quality experience. Either one of these situations is not ideal but it is common place in 90% of the restaurants I have visited. I may just be particularly picky and set my standards to high but I want to explain to you how Clos Maggiore sets new ones.
The entrance is very unimposing there is a small sign saying Clos Maggiore and the usual menu stuck onto a board for passers-by to drool over. Through the glass you can see the bar and a huge selection of wines. The wine menu itself contains thousands of wines ranging from £20 well into the thousands. When you walk in you’re greeted in a narrow corridor, by the front of house who then leads you into a small lounge area while you wait for your table to be prepared. It’s clear from here that the restaurant contains many private areas as each dining area has been separated by the ergonomics of the building. This natural way of seclusion makes it easy to see why this was voted as one of the most romantic restaurants to visit. The lighting is fantastic, it’s not fluorescent, nor too dingy while certainly not being too dark. When at dinner with a beautiful woman the last thing you want is to worry about your shiny nose or not even be able to see her at all!
Every waiter that I encountered there was French, not known for being the most polite however these particular waiters knew exactly what fine dining entailed. Baffled by the wine choice we asked the sommelier which wine would suit our tastes. He quickly took us through the choices and we decided upon 2010 Merlot, Doesn’t sound like anything fancy does it? Well it wasn’t, it didn’t cost the earth and had very subtle tones of raspberry which we soon find out melted perfectly with a coq au vin. On a side note they took incredible intention to detail and knowing every qualm and issue the diner may have. Being served separately by three people throughout the evening, each knew exactly my lactose intolerance condition and advised me on what to order, at one point even not allowing me to order something that I knew had a small amount of milk in, slightly annoying…
We opted for the pre-theatre menu this consisted of three courses for £22, a deal by any right. The week before we actually been to Aqua in The Shard and been blown a away, with the price per head well over three times what we paid here. The first course was the artichoke soup with a free range egg. I’ve visited France on quite a few occasions over the last decade and I’m always overwhelmed by the amount of fat used in many of their dishes. I am happy to say that this soup was perfectly balanced. Throughout the first course I was still slowly overwhelmed by the atmosphere. The roaring fire as the centerpiece of the room gives you the feel of a small mountain lodge, while fairy lights above emulated the appearance of the night sky. Time passed by very quickly and before I knew it my main arrived, I selected the Coq de vin with red wine sauce. It had its issues, being someone who is very active and frequently exercises I do like a considerable amount of protein in my diet. The serving of chicken was a leg and a chicken thigh which I hope was from an organic chicken, as if it was a battery farmed chicken they can’t have been more than a few weeks old, it was tiny! My serving of mash was replaced by some chips which according to the menu had fried three times. Then the sides were collard greens, carrots and some mange tout. Site note: the waiters were incredibly successful at making you drink a lot of wine, at this point I was feeling rather tipsy… not that I am complaining.
I’m sorry Sir you can’t order that…
Desert was a divine, however getting it was the hardest part. As I mentioned earlier the waiters were pre-informed about my intolerance and decided when I asked for some apple crumble they forbid me from ordering it. It’s as if they were worried that I would drop down dead, sue them or something of the sought. I therefore had to order some sorbet which was amazing but my companion had to order my crumble for me which we then shared. A slight annoyance but in hindsight they were just doing their job and ensuring I had a positive experience, ironically enough in doing so potentially compromising it.
In summary if you’re after a very well priced, luxurious, yet romantic dinner in the centre of London then look no further than Clos Maggiore. I understand that they do some of the finest private dining in the capital however I have not experienced this so can’t comment on it but it if it’s anything like the service they offer for the regular walk in customers than it must be fantastic.