Based on the corner of Bedford Street and The Strand, I had walked past here a number of times and was intrigued by the basement element (key clandestine consideration) and classic white tiles. On entering, the interior was simple but effective; clean white walls with dark wooden furniture and hanging factory style lighting. With a standing room only bar area and seats for dinner, the layout favours the drinker rather than the diner with crowds of raucous post-work drinkers somewhat distracting from the intimate atmosphere. The wine choice was impressive and charmingly labelled as Reliable, Honest, Decent Good and all served by bottle, glass or…carafe! An option greeted with delight (from me) – so very Parisienne! Whilst at the bar, we were a bit taken with the Colchester Rock Oysters, which sat amongst a very well thought out Deli Counter menu including cheese and charcuterie boards, breads and olives and home potted delicacies.
So far, so good. The problem is the acoustics. It was SO LOUD. We are no strangers to getting up close and personal in public spaces (it will be our downfall) but even we couldn’t get close enough to one another to make ourselves heard. We moved twice, finally getting a table reserved for diners which was better, but by which point, we’d had enough of not being able to talk and decided to make our excuses and leave.
If they could sort the acoustics and maybe dim the lights a fraction more, this bar would have all the makings of a clandestine must. As it is, the atmosphere doesn’t encourage romantic lingering, which is absolutely imperative for Clandestine London.