Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Public House: Highbury and Islington 19/20

Location: Just 2 minutes walk from Highbury and Islington or 10 from Angel

Visit: Monday and Sunday evening

To Note: Got a speak easy vibe going on but it's hard to miss this gem

Ambience 4/5
Design 5/5
Drinks 5/5
Staff 5/5
Extra LBS Star: Mmm, 19/20 seems good enough

As I was adding up the scores here I realised that I really could not fault it. 

Zone 2 to the NORTH of London is not my usual hang out, ever, however the banter of Public House’s owner Simon on twitter and a picture of Kermit working behind the bar convinced me that this boutique gastro pub would be worth a foray to Highbury and Islington.

Although my friend and I were the only two in the bar at 6.30pm on a Monday, we were not complaining as we felt perfectly comfortable perched at the bar in the centre of the room for a catch up and a Petit Lapin and a Pendennis Club cocktail respectively. These were confidently made and tasted very good with a lovely balance of flavours, sweetness and sour. As the evening progressed, being a school night, I moved onto the beer list which had The Kernel IPA (a good sign, and even better that it was sold out!) and Brew Dog 5AM Saint amongst others with a well rounded selection of wines to boot; my friend investigated a sparkling wine and really enjoyed it, as well as the 1920’s coupe glass it came in. Drink suggestions on the Sunday were even better!

This was a theme of the pub/bar/restaurant – think Powder Keg Diplomacy if you are a South of the river kind of person – with an eclectic mix of leather couches and Louis XIV thrones at the front then medieval high backed chairs, sixties swivel seats and school tables at the back with chandeliers hanging everywhere, even the toilets! And the design really worked. The 20’s – dare I say it “prohibition” - era was also evoked with the music, which I rarely notice in bars but I loved the swingy jazz that they were treating us too.

On a Monday and a Tuesday you can indulge in 2 courses for £10 with no restrictions (like a supplement on steak etc). As some newly arrived friends joined us we took up a table in the back part of the vneue and were furnished with some tasty olives and water was attentively topped up. We all tried each other’s starters; though I think I won out with the sardines on toast and salad there was nothing left of either the lamb shoulder or the pulled pork when the plates were cleared. We all opted for fish as a main, one sea bream and two salmon with scallops. Both were beautifully cooked and the accompanying honeyed carrots went down a treat. Another clean plate round but we stopped short of dessert (the girls together effect?) and Frangelico shots were delivered from the bar instead – we were very flattered and it was a rather nice end to a rather nice evening! Sunday was a day for roasts with the classics (beef, pork and fish/veg too) with a Bloody Mary for £15

It has to be mentioned that the staff were outstanding. Our two barmen for the Monday evening were attentive, efficient servers who knew how to mix a drink. Lucy and Simon lifted the spirits on Sunday. It is all too rare that everything comes together in a boutique pub like it did at Public House.

We could not believe how cheap this evening worked out when the bill turned up and we are definitely going to return again; after all it is only two tube lines away…
Square Meal

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