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Well Fed and Watered at the Clerkenwell Well:
It seems a while since my birthday. But, it was on that day I arranged a review lunch with my friend Adrian. He’d been invited to cover one of the special events at the Well in Clerkenwell, which had ultimately proved so popular that there wasn’t space for him! So, instead we went along to check the place out, something which is actually a little more useful in the long run anyway. After all, while special events are great fun, writing about them afterwards is a little too late for anyone reading to go along. That said, it’s worth checking out the programme of events run by The Well. Apart from the Tuesday night quiz, they have regular ‘specials’ ranging from celebratory menus through to pop-ups and bar specials.
A glass of fizz to start, of course. Well it was my Birthday. Prosecco di Valdobbiadene hit the spot perfectly. Then starters. Adrian (otherwise known as ‘The-Hedonist’) picked oysters.
My scallops were delicious. Served in the shell they were garnished with a pea puree, garlic and parley butter and some tiny crispy shallot rings. I have great admiration for a kitchen that can produce good scallops during busy service because a few seconds of over-cooking makes for little morsels of rubber, while under-cooking is perhaps preferable, but not quite right. Especially when you are hoping for a warm dish.
I think my main course was the winner too. Slow braise shin of White Park beef was one of the daily specials, served with mash, sauteed oyster mushrooms and wonderfully sticky rich braising juices. It was a mouth watering plateful of meat that worked beautifully well with a glass of Finca La Colonis from Argentina.
Meanwhile The-Hedonist was taking a step into what looked like a rather austere dish. He picked the vegetarian option of roast cauliflower and black truffle risotto, cauliflower fritters and hazelnut pesto. The fritters and pesto looked good, but he felt the dish lacked truffle. I suspect that we all have our palates rather wrecked by the overuse of truffle oil and I have to admit I didn’t taste to see myself, being far too engrossed in my carnivorous feast.
In fact I was full. So, while Adrian indulged in sorbet (blueberry, passion-fruit and green apple) I sipped on some coffee. It did look good though and was a suitable end to a very pleasant lunch
I really liked The Well. I’m sure if I worked in the area it would be a regular haunt because the food is excellent, service friendly and the surroundings unpretentious. And that is not meant in any way to belittle the place. While it’s a gastro-pub it isn’t an off-the-shelf-lamb-shank-and-bread-with-oil kind of place. Rather, it has a character and charm of its own that makes it a worthwhile place to drop in.
180 St John Street,
London EC1V 4JY