What: I rather like Mondays, I think they get a rough deal, sure we can complain about Mondays saying they are reason we are tired and down, actually it’s more likely that the reason you’re tired is because of Saturday and Sunday. Mondays are the start of a new week, the day we all say we’re going to not procrastinate at work, we will bring our lunch in and we will make it to the gym, a day of new possibilities. It’s also the day that many restaurants lure as in with wonderful deals, to cheer up our days and make sure they aren’t dead at the start of the week. Win win. Take Claw on Kingly Street for example, they have just started Mac ’n’ cheese Mondays, where you can order a pan of crab mac n cheese which is not only gigantic (the photos don’t do it justice) but also bottomless.
New: Following two years of street trading, founder Fabian Clark opened the first permanent Claw on Kingly Street just under a year ago – they’ll be celebrating their first birthday in October. The mac n cheese deal however only came in at the end of June and as soon as we heard we knew we had to head down and try it.
The Look: Split over two floors the restaurant seats 50, it’s dark and pared back with bespoke ironwork giving it an industrial feel. Making the most of the hot weather we sat outside which did mean contending with the occasional wasp, but that’s a small price to pay for the actual summer we have had this year.
The Setting: For its first restaurant Claw has secured an enviable position on Kingly Street, no doubt benefitting from the crowds spilling out onto the street from the pub in look of food and the general hordes of Soho. If you’re like people watching then you don’t get much better than Kingly Street, no traffic to contend with you can sit outside and watch the show that is daily London life.
On the Menu: Besides the ginormous portions of mac n cheese, there’s a menu of plates and rolls. Order a few and share between the table, they’ll come as and when they’re ready. Dishes include fish tacos with mackerel, coconut and peanut; miso steak with lettuce, crispy shallots and lime; grilled oysters and mussels with nduja and parsley.
What We Ate: Of course, a huge pot of mac n cheese was never going to be enough for us, so we ordered plates to go with it. We started with KFC Claw-style and rather than crispy chicken this KFC was kimchi fried softshell crab with a sweet lemon mayonnaise and a plate of chunky fish fingers made from flaky fish and served with a seaweed tartar although the seaweed was a little lost in the tartar, there wasn’t that salty umami flavour I was expecting. Whilst specialising in crab and seafood, (which is sourced from the UK shores) there’s also a rather excellent dish of sticky caramel chicken wings with sesame, creating a nutty, sweet and utterly moreish flavour – you’ll be fighting over the last wing.
Then it was onto the main event, a bubbling cauldron of mac n cheese filled with chunks of meaty crab and topped with a golden crust of cheese. It’s too much for two (but probably perfect for four) unless you haven’t eaten in a week and even then, I’d be impressed – although we still had a good go at it, because it is incredibly hard to not want to go back for scoop after scoop. When eating mac n cheese there are a few things to look out for: Is it too stodgy? Not stodgy enough? Does it actually taste of cheese or is it just rubbery? Does it have a good topping? Is it golden or anaemic? Safe to say Claw passed with flying colours, even without the crab it would be excellent.
What We Drank: Cocktails change regularly and are both on tap and not, so our tequila creation is now no longer available however at the moment you’ll find the likes of the Seaside Negroni made from East London Gin, Lillet Blanc, Campari and grapefruit. Wine is served in tumblers, something I can’t say I’m a fan of. However, in vogue it may be, there’s something rather disappointing about drinking wine from a stumpy glass, it’s like drinking a G&T from a beaker. That said at £4 a glass I can’t really complain.
Go With: Take a group of friends, order a few plates and a portion of mac n cheese, and whether you love it or hate it, celebrate the fact that Monday is over.
Where: 21 Kingly Street, Soho, W1B 5QA www. claw.co.uk
Final Word: Claw is onto something great with this bottomless mac n cheese offering so it is no wonder that even on a Monday when usually people have a night off from the excesses of the weekend that the restaurant was busy. And if you don’t feel like mac n cheese they have recently launched the first trout poké bowl which couldn’t be more different in concept but definitely worth a try.