The Clifton Pub Re-Opening in St John’s Wood in May 2017

Steeped in history, The Clifton has been a fixture of the local community for centuries and in May 2017 brothers Ben and Ed Robson will reinstate this beloved pub, bringing a new look and a refreshed attitude to pub drinking and dining to St John’s Wood.

North Londoners Ben and Ed delved into the world of pub dining when they started running The Horseshoe in Hampstead in 2007, the first pub that they ever drank in. After the success of their schnitzel and prosecco bar, Boopshi’s in Fitzrovia, the brothers were drawn back to their first love. Ben and Ed are committed to breathing life back into The Clifton which had stood empty since its unexpected closure in 2013 and will transform The Clifton into their vision for the contemporary pub.

Ben and Ed will give comfort pub grub a dash of re-imagination. The pair have brought Head Chef Karl Calvert (Providores, Beef & Brew & Caravan) on board to bring punchy flavours and a playful style into this casual setting. The New Zealander describes his cooking as eclectic; he is driven by a delight in quality and unusual ingredients and his dishes will feature often overlooked cuts of meat such as Ox heart, mutton and pork neck. The menu he has devised for The Clifton will favour laid-back weekend brunches over Sunday roasts and will be buzzing with globally-inspired dishes that blend with The Clifton’s evolved definition of pub food. The menu will be split into two sections: ‘Drinking House’ and ‘Eating House’.

While the former will feature smaller plates, perfect with a drink, the latter is a full all-day menu; both sections are designed to be enjoyed simultaneously, by all kinds of diners, throughout the open plan room.

Brothers Ben and Ed Robson outside the Clifton Hotel, Clifton Hill NW8

Further examples from the menu include:

  • Drinking House – Haggis Sausage Roll, Famous Grouse Ketchup
  • Drinking House – Mutton Rendang Croquettes, Banana Raita, Lime Pickle, Curry Leaves
  • Eating House – Roast Cod, Arrocina Beans, Fennel, Sea Vegetables, Saffron, Aioli.
  • Brunch – Sweet Corn Jalapeno Fritters, Chipotle Onion Jam, Avocado, Rocket

The beer menu will feature a diverse array of local and craft beers on tap and Ben and Ed plan to brew their own Clifton beer. This will be accompanied by a strong wine list which is a collaboration between the boys and Raul Diaz (wine sommelier and expert on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch). The pub will be open from 9am on weekdays to offer local workers an alternative stop-off to pick up a morning coffee and pastry. During the day, the pub will be a relaxed and welcoming spot for freelancers to work and friends to meet in a café-like atmosphere.

Situated on a tree-lined residential street the pub’s London brick Georgian façade belies a grand and fascinating history. This historic pub has been reinvented throughout the centuries; King Edward VII used to take his mistress Lillie Langtry to The Clifton for secret trysts and reputedly ordered for the venue change its name from a ‘hunting lodge’ into a ‘hotel’ to accommodate him, as royals were not allowed to drink in pubs. Over one hundred years later, The Clifton is metamorphosing again but retaining its essential character.

Original features such as fireplaces and wood panelling will be retained preserving the comforting elements that are synonymous with a traditional pub. The spacious interior has been designed by Red Deer (Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings and No. 197 Chiswick Fire Station) and will be an open and light space, filled with loose furniture, cosy chesterfields and slouchy armchairs. The pub will seat 65 inside with space for bar drinkers and an outdoor space for 25 people. With a modern interior and a forward-looking menu, the pub will be reinstated as a comfortable hideaway, lively social eating house and relaxed drinking spot for locals and visitors alike.