A year ago my boyfriend Sam won me over with a box of my favourite Charbonnel et Walker truffles and to celebrate, he took me out for the evening. The venue of our dinner was a surprise and nothing was given away which could lead me to right or wrongly guess. I told my mum how I hoped I would be taken to Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden which has been named the most romantic restaurant in the UK. Mum told me not to be disappointed if we went elsewhere, I mean how often does a man actually listen to you and your rants about that dress in the window or that fancy restaurant? It turns out mine does! That evening Sam took me to the most romantic restaurant in the UK AND he didn’t even book the cheaper set menu – I could have screamed with excitement! Our evening started with a cocktail, none other than a Porn Star Martini, at ever-so-fancy Brassiere Blanc overlooking Covent Garden Square. It was beautiful, even though I decided to tip my passion fruit out into the drink so I ended up eating a shed load of seeds with each gulp. Lesson learnt! Afterwards we made our way to Clos Maggiore where the host took our coats and showed us to our seats. We were presented with the biggest wine list I have ever seen, although sadly this only included two bottles of our favourite; Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand.
The décor inside the venue is breath-taking, much better than all the pictures I’ve seen. Unfortunately, we weren’t seated in the ‘romantic’ main room which is draped with vines, flowers and fairy lights but the setting was still pleasant. A small terracotta plant pot containing warm cheese pastry bites was placed on our table, a comforting pre-starter especially when cold outside. I decided to skip the starter for fear that I may not manage dessert and I reassured Sam that he could fill up on bread (we only got one slice in the end – oops!). The wine was nice but not as nice as some we have tried from Sainsbury’. At £36 a bottle it was a little disappointing but hey, we were celebrating! For main I had ‘Slow Cooked Fillet of Cornish Cod ‘Rougaille’ with Vermicelli & Shellfish, Iberico Chorizo Sauce’ whilst Sam had Oven Roasted Les Landes Corn Fed Chicken Leg Stuffed with Morteau Sausage, Potatoes Lyonnaise and Alsace Bacon Sauce’. Both dishes were beautifully presented and although reasonably small, the richness and combination of many flavours left us feeling full. We waited a good hour before ordering dessert, chatting and enjoying our wine whilst trying to decide on what to have – they all sounded so nice!
I had been craving chocolate since lunch that day so I opted for the ‘Dark Valrhona Chocolate & Pistachio Dôme with Griotte Cherry Sauce’ and asked for Tonka Bean Ice Cream on the side, which had caught my eye elsewhere on the menu. Sam bravely tried the ‘Pink Praline ‘Ile Flottante’ with Blackberry Compote’, even though he didn’t really know what it was and isn’t a great lover of nuts. I can’t comment on the taste of Sam’s but it was wonderfully presented in its bowl. Mine looked equally as fancy, something of a work of art, which I was most pleased about because I love pretty looking food, no matter how small a portion it is. The ‘Dark Valrhona Chocolate & Pistachio Dôme’ contained a dense chocolate mousse with a layer of green pistachio paste on a crunchy chocolaty base which tasted a little like biscuit. The nutty flavour of the pistachio complimented the dark chocolate perfectly and I would have possibly liked a little more. However, it was the thick dark chocolate covering the dome of mousse that made this dessert something special. The consistency of the chocolate was similar to a truffle, thick enough to cover the dome structure with that melt-in-your-mouth softness. The dome was exceptionally decorated by delicate chocolate squares with cherry and chocolate sauce carefully drizzled around the plate. The dessert didn’t come with ice cream but the staff were more than happy to place some on the side for me. It was a small scoop but just enough to experience the vanilla almondy taste of the Tonka beans whilst leaving the dome to take centre stage.
We had a fantastic evening at Clos Maggiore with its impressive food, attentive service and a breath-taking interior which clearly illustrates why this restaurant has won a whole host of awards including the most romantic restaurant in the UK. Not yet a Michelin star, Clos Maggiore still holds a certain magic which not only leaves you feeling satisfied (unlike some fine dining venues), but feeling special, important and relaxed. I just can’t wait to return.
Living life, loving cake,