The Clarence is situated in the heart of London – minutes from Trafalgar Square and close to the Houses of Parliament, making it popular with civil servants and tourists alike (not my normal choice of fellow diners). It is also suggested that due to its closeness to Number 10 it was a favourite local of Winston Churchill. Whether you believe this or not, it’s clear that The Clarence is certainly steeped in history and, fresh from renovation, it’s certainly a nice place to spend an hour or two after work.
However, we stepped away from the main part of the pub and visited its newest space – The Tin Belly Room. Situated on the first floor, this room has a huge skylight that runs the length of the ceiling, meaning you don’t miss out on the natural light of summer when dining inside.
I began the meal with Severn and Wye smoked salmon with red onions, capers, and sour cream. A tasty, light starter. The salmon wasn’t overly smoked, and there was just the right amount of the salty capers to go alongside it. My dining partner tried the garlic buttered wild mushrooms with a poached egg on toast, which she thought tasted great and certainly went down a treat.
Next, we both went for the steak – 21-day aged sirloin steak with a tarragon and mustard sauce, watercress salad and fries. The ultimate test for any establishment is how they cook steak and, with me preferring a blue steak that has barely touched the pan, and my friend liking her steak to be rare, they had a real challenge on their hands.
However, I’m happy to say you could genuinely tell the difference between the two, with both cooked to absolute perfection. The tarragon and mustard sauce was deliciously thick and velvety, coating the steak and chips perfectly.
The meal was incredibly filling, so all we could manage for dessert was a shared bowl of fruit sorbets. But, even these didn’t fail to disappoint, with the mango sorbet almost stealing the show.
All in all, a tasty meal in a great, traditional pub setting. The Tin Belly Room also offers a carvery trolley – 28-day aged British sirloin beef ‘on the bone’ with all the trimmings, served Wednesday – Sunday which, is definitely on my list to try when I return.