Restaurant Review: The Clarendon, Chandlers Cross

Attention to detail makes The Clarendon a great lunchtime find, as editor Clare Bourke discovers

The ClarendonChandlers CrossWD3 4LU01923 270009www.theclarendon.co.uk

About the restaurantA former pub, no expense has been spared in giving The Clarendon a luxurious make-over. It has been transformed into a restaurant offering Refined Dining upstairs and more informal downstairs in The Canteen. The restaurant team is led by chef Barry Vera, who trained under the Conran group and Marco Pierre White and has worked across Europe and in Australia. The food offering is modern British with global influences.

First impressionsThe Clarendon dominates a large area in the heart of Chandlers Cross. The outside area is large with plenty of tables well-spaced for al fresco dining. The whole place feels fresh and new and has an immediate charm.

Atmosphere and d�corAttention to detail is outstanding and a lot of thought has gone into the d�cor. The bar and lounge area have a sumptuous feel with luxury fabrics while The Canteen feels light, modern and fresh, with exposed brickwork and bare floors. The atmosphere is welcoming and inviting.

ServiceThe waiters and waitresses are all very smartly dressed, the girls in chocolate brown cocktail dresses, the boys in chocolate brown trousers and black shirts. The service is friendly and accommodating and staff keep a watchful eye but are not imposing while customers enjoy lunch.

To startKeen to sample all three courses, we decided to share a starter to make save room for pudding and chose the Whitebait served with lemon and tartare sauce (�6) and enjoyed it with some homemade bread. The whitebait was delicate and the tartare sauce delicious, a perfect mix.

For mainI chose the Pork chop with apple and sorrel risotto, pork crackling and calvados sauce (�14.50) and, expecting something very small, was amazed at the sheer size of the piece of pork that arrived. It was tender and well complemented by the risotto, which was very filling. Spotting one of his favourite all-time combinations on the menu, my husband opted for the Ham, egg and chips (�14.50), intrigued by the restaurant's description of '36-hour cooked ham, duck egg, triple-cooked chips and homemade baked beans'. It was a surprise when it arrived so artfully placed on the plate, the chips in a Jenga-style tower and the sweet baked beans in a small separate pan on the plate, while the ham was topped with the perfectly shaped egg. Not the huge plateful he expected but it was declared a delight.

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To finishWe again decided to share and chose the Raspberry and apple crumble (�6.50) which was beautifully presented in its own little mini casserole dish straight from the oven. It was just the right combination of sweet and sharp and an excellent end to our meal.

Our experienceThe food is well presented and delicious and the surroundings luxurious and calm. A great combination for a leisurely weekend lunch and somewhere to impress clients on a weekday. The cost of a three-course lunch for two was �50.50 including a glass of house ros� wine and a pint of Stowford Press cider. Service is not included

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