The Clifton: Brothers make a success of return to pub

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 July 2017

The Clifton's Korean boneless chicken wings. Picture: Nic Crilly

The Clifton's Korean boneless chicken wings. Picture: Nic Crilly

Nic Crilly Photography

Hampstead-raised Brothers Ben and Ed Robson once ran The Horseshoe in Heath Street before opening their own schnitzel and prosecco restaurant in Fitzrovia

Hampstead-raised Brothers Ben and Ed Robson once ran The Horseshoe in Heath Street before opening their own schnitzel and prosecco restaurant in Fitzrovia.

Boopshi’s was named after the Austrian grandparents whose legacy funded it, and used recipes found in their diaries to great success.

Now the siblings return to their first love of pubs by breathing new life into a St John’s Wood alehouse that was under threat.

They reopened The Clifton in May – a Victorian lodge where King Edward VII reputedly took mistress Lillie Langtry for secret trysts.

When the pub closed in 2013, hundreds signed a petition to stop it being turned into a luxury home. And although the original interiors were mostly ripped out, the Robsons have imbued it with a comfortable contemporary vibe of dark grey walls, vintage sofas and chandeliers.

At The Horseshoe they helped kickstart Jasper Cuppaidge’s Camden Town brewery so you’d expect craft beers on tap including the headily hoppy Clifton brew. More of a gin drinker I happily choose a Menorcan spirit from the craft gin menu with lemon and rosemary tonic to start the evening. The wine list comes courtesy of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch expert Raul Diaz and the Spanish house white was a quality tipple which paired well with our salad starters; a fresh, bright pea, broad bean asparagus and parmesan, and even better, a sweet, sour peach, tomato, burrata and purple basil.

Sadly the Chalk Farm smoked salmon with horseradish ricotta was off but I got my fish fix from the well-judged combo of earthy cauliflower puree and girolles with the sweetness of nicely cooked cod fillet, rounded off with crisp skinny chips.

My vegetarian partner happily waded through a rich gorgonzola risotto, and upon discovering the salted caramel brownie was also off, dived into a Neals Yard cheese board. The lip-curlingly tart Goosberry fool was no substitute for the brownie but as we retired outside to finish our drinks on the lovely terrace, you’d be hard pushed to think of a more idyllic pub setting than this tree-lined gem.

The Clifton also offers Sunday roasts, modern British small plates, an all day menu including morning coffee and pastries, and a wine club with Raul Diaz on the first Wednesday of the month. info@thecliftonnw8.com. 96, Clifton Hill thecliftonnw8.com



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