Restaurant review: The Public House, Islington Park Street, N1.
PUBLISHED: 10:01 08 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:03 08 December 2014
Jamie’s protégé makes good bar great
54 Islington Park St
Tube: Highbury and Islington
T: 020 7359 6070
Mains: from £12
Wine: from £18.50
Children welcome: until 7pm
Disabled access: yes
Most in-the-know Islington night-owls have been fans of the Public House for a while.
Tucked away from the main strip, with fantastic cocktails and a wonderful collection of shabby-chic decor, it has all the right ingredients for the perfect watering hole.
But aside from their well-regarded Sunday roast and bloody Mary special, food hasn’t always been a major highlight.
However, enter former Jamie Oliver and Bruno Loubet protégé Tim Parsons to the kitchen, and suddenly there’s a new restaurant in town.
Cocktail-wise it hasn’t taken its eye off the ball, a variety of fruity numbers abound and one of the martinis comes with a slice of Stilton, while the new menu is laid back, very autumnal, with plenty of intriguing combinations going on.
Our (very) smokey duck, served with celeriac and pickled grapes, was solid if not spectacular, as was the salt and pepper squid and well-spiced aioli.
Things stepped up a gear with the mains: the venison haunch was moist, pink and nicely charred on the outside, packed with gamey flavour balanced by red cabbage and sweet parsnip.
The pork was also excellent; perfectly cooked, with minimal fat but plenty of crackling and a piquant cider gravy.
Meanwhile the fish board, an array of oceanic treats, was exactly what you’d expect; the high point being the prawn and chorizo skewers.
The chocolate Guinness cake we fancied for pudding wasn’t off, we were told, it had just morphed into brownie.
So, out came a toffee and apple sponge affair - smothered in custard it was like a hug in a bowl and reminded me of my youth - and a delicate Earl Grey creme brulee, where the bitter topping and sweet tea flavours worked perfectly.
With its subdued, groovy lighting, chilled out vibe, amazing drinks and now a more than passable menu, one of the best venues in Islington goes from strength to strength.
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