I tend to keep my birthday celebrations relatively low-key (for the most part, I prefer small groups, great conversations and LOTS of food), but since I’m turning 21 this month I thought it would be nice to indulge in a bit of fine dining. Luckily for me, Clos Maggiore offers a surprisingly affordable pre-theatre menu in what was probably one of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating in!
In order to take advantage of the pre-theatre menu, we arrived pretty early for dinnertime standards- around 5pm. The sun was starting to set, cloaking the buildings around Covent Garden in a dreamy blue haze.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have spent your fair share of time Googling restaurant reviews and drooling over food photos- but one thing I often forget to do is look up the exterior of restaurants I want to visit, and so I was pretty surprised upon arriving at Clos Maggiore to see how small, discreet and invitingly cosy it was.
We (my sister and I) stepped right in, and were promptly seated in one of the most magically beautiful backdrops I’ve been in- a conservatory with cascading flowers and sparkling fairy lights, alongside with a crackling fireplace.
Clos Maggiore is well-known for being one of the most romantic restaurants in the UK, and a seat in this room is highly requested. I’m pretty sure that eating at 5pm on a random weekday was the reason why I got to sit in here, and not because it was for a birthday meal, as I’ve read other reviews of people who booked months in advance for wedding anniversaries and were seated elsewhere.
I definitely felt super lucky, especially as this room is really tiny (don’t let the photos deceive you)- you’re pretty much sitting with your back against some fake branches- and spent the whole night just marvelling at my surroundings.
Anyways, onto the food! Like I said before, the pre-theatre menu is quite affordable-prices start from less than £25 for two courses, which is pretty good considering the environment and location. I opted for a three-course meal, and since I paid an additional supplement for my starter, didn’t go for any drinks- but from what I could tell, the cocktails looked amazing!
I started off with a foie gras and Perigord winter truffle terrine, which came with a fruity marmalade and grilled sourdough. This was definitely worth the supplement price- the terrine was smooth and flavourful and I thoroughly enjoyed the buttery richness of the liver, interspersed with sections of jellied truffle and duck fat. The terrine paired wonderfully with the marmalade, which tasted like an apple pie, and the sourdough was drenched in butter and delightfully crispy. I took my sweet time spreading the terrine across the sourdough, making sure that each bite had an even distribution of bread to terrine.
For mains, we both went for the pan roasted cornish pollock and monkfish cheek, served with a bilini. This was delicious- I loved how different the textures of the fish were, with the buttery smooth pollock and crispy, chewy (almost scallop-like) monkfish. The fish also paired well with the delicate vegetables served alongside the main. I do wish the monkfish cheek was a bit larger though, although I know that’s technically not very feasible!
We ended our meal with some dessert, and went for the mascarpone mousse and dark chocolate crémeux , a dense, richer-than-mousse dessert that I would gladly have eaten a whole tub of. At the end of the meal, I was also presented with a birthday surprise of petits-fours. It was such a great way to end the night! I had a great time at Clos Maggiore- whilst it’s not somewhere I would go all the time, it’s a great place if you want to indulge in some celebratory feasting in a beautiful backdrop. Service is polite yet not overly intrusive, and the restaurant lacks that ‘stuffiness’ you often feel in some eateries, allowing you to have a really relaxed and enjoyable meal.
33 King Street, London WC2E 8JD