Popseye, Highgate Hill, food review

PUBLISHED: 17:31 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:31 12 November 2015


The sharp new steak house could prove more than a match for Hawksmoor, writes Jon Dean.

A better steak than Hawksmoor? It’s a bold claim - but the kind you can make when you’ve been 20 years in the game and come from a family steeped in steak tradition.

Pope’s Eye (or PopesEye as it is properly known a Scots term for rump) is the work of James Hutchison whose dad has built a mini beef empire.

James has struck out on his own in the world of meat and getting to his first venutre requires a brisk climb up Highgate Hill. Once there you find a neat, comfortable little restaurant dominated by the family’s Highland heritage - including a magnificent whisky bar.

Firstly, this is one for the purists. They do vegetarian food, but you need to phone and order 24 hours in advance.

But when it comes to beef, it’s here in all its wonderful forms - all from north of the border and all very tempting.

There’s the popseye itself (a rump) sirloin, fillet, rib-eye and the hulking t-bone, or burgers if you prefer.

All steaks come with chips, bearnaise and every conceivable type of mustard. Sides are a salad, veg or mac and cheese.

One huge advantage of a smaller restaurant is James himself is on hand to offer expert advice on everything from a pre-dinner Scotch, to the excellent wine list (lashings of muscular reds) and, of course, the meat.

On his advice, I tried a huge, juicy sirloin cooked in the Pittsburgh style, crackling with chargrilled piquancy on the outside, tender on the inside with surrounding rind of fat. A magnificent mountain of meat.

My pregnant better half was forced to have her rib-eye more medium than she’d would normally like, but the quality of cut lent it a rich and satisfying flavour.

As an extra treat we were treated to a few ounces of ultra-scarce highland cow (the shaggy things with the horns) which had a gamey, smokey, almost venison like character. Only the chips were a bit of a let down - slightly over cooked - but to be honest, with all these lovingly-cooked steaks they were only dressing anyway. From a menu of four puds we were immensely pleased with the white chocolate cheesecake and left replete and happy.

Is it better than Hawksmoor? With a personal touch, fantastic steaks and without the expense account busting prices, it just might be...



36 Highgate Hill, London N19 5NL020 3601 3830

Mains: Steak from £12.45

Wine: from £15.50 a bottle

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: Yes

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Wed, 16:46

Following the success of their Haggerston and Seven Dials venues, Chick ‘n’ Sours bring a fresh new menu to their latest restaurant in Islington.

Wed, 15:58

This Monday, a pop-up record and book store aiming to ‘explore the positive connection between mental health and the arts’ will open in Stoke Newington for a one week stay.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Some of Hackney and Islington’s most popular eateries have joined forces with – a nightlife discovery website – to stage a weekender dedicated to brunch in all its glory.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Born and raised in Islington, the revered music journalist Barry Cain is also a real talent when it comes to fiction writing. His first novel – The Types of Wrath – is available now.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now