Restaurant Review: Clos Maggiore, WC2

Jon Dean tries out one of London’s most romantic restaurants

�Love is in the air, everywhere you look around, or so sang John Paul Young in his 1978 hit.

And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner – what better way to celebrate than dinner at a restaurant regularly voted the most romantic in the capital.

Clos Maggiore is a warm and intimate retreat right in the heart of bustling Covent Garden – the interior is all wood-panelling, subdued lighting and low ceilings with a snug, cosy feel.

We were led through a maze of little tables to the main dining room – which is stunning – consisting of a conservatory roof, which opens in the summer, and a roof of branches covered with twinkling lights.

It’s like eating in a fairy tale forest.

The tables are far enough apart to allow privacy and the room’s centrepiece, a beautiful crackling fire, enhances the sensuous atmosphere.

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But does the food put you in the mood for love?

Well first of all, the depth of the wine list is immense – the cellar must be something to behold.

Luckily the sommelier helped us out with a peachy presecco aperitif and a full-bodied Malbec for the main course.

The � la carte menu shows head chef Marcellin Marc’s French roots with some elaborate dishes, but was reasonably priced for the standard of fare.

After some breadsticks with olive tapenade and truffle, we chose game for starters.

My partridge breast with fois gras was rich and tender, as was the slamis confit leg, and came with a single fired quail’s egg.

The roasted duck also came with a fatty fois gras brimming with dark flavour, accompanied amazingly well by a vanilla-tasting poached quince.

Pausing only to gaze longingly into each others eyes, we tucked in to our main course, served beneath a silver covered tray.

My chicken and snails had a wonderful, dense smokey flavour from the morteau sausage and piperade served with it.

I kept casting jealous glances across the table at my partner’s impressive venison fillet, until I was rewarded with a mouthful of the succulent meat enriched with pepper sauce.

With just enough room for a third course, we tucked into a mouth-watering tiramisu and a powerful cheese platter. Highlights were the crusty Camembert and an Epoisses so strong it had turned into a liquid.

Sauntering back through the homely surroundings on our way out, the manager told me the restaurant averages around one wedding proposal a week.

With so much care taken to provide a romantic atmosphere, food and wine, it’s no surprise.