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Restaurant Review: Applauding Culinary Excellence at CLAP London

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We arrived at CLAP London on a typical wet, windy day for a business lunch. A self described contemporary Japanese restaurant, CLAP sits behind a grand, stone archway and sleek, black exterior (don’t let the current roadworks put you off. Once inside the huge front door, it’s a haven).

We were immediately welcomed, wet umbrellas whisked away, and coats removed before walking towards a corridor lit with twinkling red lanterns; the torrential rain forgotten by the time we’d been shown into the lift and sent up to the sixth floor.

Warm, rich, dark woods and industrial metal greeted us. We were shown past the long open kitchen, enclosed by a glass cabinet of seafood, teasing us with what was to come. Distracted by the impressive ceiling canopy of patterned blue cloth, we were seated at our window table with a view.

As my dining companion, aka my mother, is both dairy and gluten free, opening the menu was even more full of anticipation than usual. We needn’t have worried. Every course allowed for her intolerances and the waitress was on hand to help with questions as they arose.

From the set business lunch menu, to start, we both enjoyed a comforting, flavoursome miso soup. The ceremony of lifting the lid, and breathing in the aromatic steam, part of the experience. My mother is firmly not a seaweed fan but devoured the seaweed in the soup enthusiastically.

To follow, we ordered The Squid Kara Age, The Clap Salad, The Crispy Rice with salmon and The Shrimp Tempura Roll. Everything was delicious, but the squid and salad require special recognition. The squid was the perfect marriage of crunch and tenderness, beautifully spiced and accompanied by a gorgeous creamy sauce. We were both blown away by the salad. What appeared to be a simple bowl of dressed spinach leaves, was refreshing with the perfect balance of Parmesan, truffle, and citrus and the enjoyable crunch of daikon. The salad was the epitome of the cliché that looks can be deceptive.

While waiting for the next course, a visit to the upstairs lounge revealed a striking bar with intricate metal detailing and quirky chandeliers made of hundreds of figurines, reminding guests of the Japanese influence.

Moving on to the main courses, I opted for the Salmon Teriyaki Clap Way, while my mother chose the Black Cod Miso, specially tailored to accommodate her gluten intolerance. While such excellence might be anticipated in a high-end Japanese restaurant, it would be remiss not to highlight the flawless preparation of both the salmon and the cod, that were cooked to flaky perfection and accompanied by equally exquisite sauces.

And to finish, I had a mountain of a millefuille; crispy filo pastry piled high, sandwiched with thick vanilla cream, all drizzled with rich peanut sauce and finished with crunchy caramelised peanuts. Decadent flavours, perfectly balanced. Mother had guava sorbet. Not as dramatic perhaps as my dessert, but it was delicious and refreshing, nonetheless.

All in all, with its mouth-watering food and luxurious ambience, our visit to Clap was exceptional.

Clap London is situated at  Sixth and seventh Floor, 12-14 Basil St, London SW3 1AJ