The Clarendon is one of those places trying to do it all – pub, restaurant, bar, gastropub fare, cocktails, after-dinner drinks, etc. I have been quite a few times and even taken friends visiting the area because it is a good location, has a neighborhood feel, and can be cozy in the winter months. On my most recent visit, I went for Sunday lunch booking in on the upstairs terrace. It is one of the few places in the area that has outside dining and takes bookings. As there are few seats (about 20), it books up quite quickly at the first hint of a nice weekend day.
When arriving at the Clarendon, one enters into a dining room that has a bar area and a semi-open kitchen. This area usually has a nice atmosphere on a Saturday or Sunday lunch on a grey day.
When arriving for Sunday lunch recently, there was only one table seated there. We were promptly greeted and taken upstairs to the terrace by a friendly member of staff. All was going well so far….
Unfortunately, no one came over for the next 30 minutes. The good part was we had plenty of time to decide what to order, the bad part was we sat for 30 minutes without being able to order drinks or food. We tried to stop a couple of the staff but several attempts were unsuccessful. It was a bit mind-boggling because there were numerous members of staff running around though the place was not half-full.
Eventually, we ordered and the food came in reasonable time having a starter of roasted butternut squash with halloumi, rocket, and a balsamic glaze . The menu indicated baby beetroot but there was none to be found on the plate. The dish was well-presented and tasty.
For the main dishes, I debated the wild mushroom risotto but instead had a salmon dish that was good but nothing special and my husband had a seafood tagliatelle which had prawns, mussels, and clams with a tomato sauce. None of the clams were open but he enjoyed the rest of it. The wine list has some quite affordable options so we took advantage of it.
We were tempted by the dessert and cheese menu but it took so long to get the menu and have someone stop by to check on us that we just opted for the bill.
My other experiences have been more positive but this visit left me feeling underwhelmed. It seems no one was in charge and things were a bit disorganised. Hopefully, they will focus on a few things and stop trying to do it all. This may have been a one-off, but I am not sure when I will go back to find out since there are too many good places around to tempt me.
Sunday Menu prices – 1 course (£14.95) 2 courses (£20.95); 3 courses (£24.95)
17pm to 12am – Monday to Thursday
12pm to 12am – Friday
10am to 12am – Saturday
12pm to 11pm – Sunday
123A Clarendon Rd London, W11 4JG
020 7229 1500