Restaurant review: Prawn on the Lawn, Canonbury, N1
- Credit: Archant
January – not everyone’s favourite time of year. In fact, many would call it the armpit of all months.
Grey, wet, windy – every last dreg of Christmas spirit has been sucked out of you by the end of the fist week back at work.
Worst of all is the inevitable diets and “dryathalons” shoved down your throat in an apparent bid to make a depressing month truly unbearable.
There is something very upsetting about meeting a friend for food only to be told, at the start of the meal, they are avoiding both wine and anything resembling tasty sustenance for the whole month, especially if you are purposely dodging a health kick.
However, at Prawn on the Lawn, you can have the best of both worlds.
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Part laid-back restaurant, part fishmongers it offers some truly tasty snacks that are firmly in the “good for you” bracket; a range of lean fish dishes cooked in olive oil rather than butter.
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It’s a cluttered, congenial type of place – diners sit round large barrels or up on the bar elbow to elbow with random people, but it still manages to feel strangely intimate.
The front is taken over by the shop side of things; a vast array of squid and large, beady-eyed piscine entities give off an authentic fishy odour. We settled on a couple of stools at the back bar and got stuck in.
Despite it’s diminutive size, Prawn makes some great use of space – for example the food comes out on plates that hang from a hook and swing pleasantly between you.
Simply, bold flavours are the order of the day here. The oysters were textbook; light and fresh, with the black water variety packed with aquatic taste.
The eponymous Prawn on the Lawn was a mound of fresh crustaceans on zesty bed of avocado, chilli and lime on toast, while their take on scallop ceviche was alive with the usual chilli and citrus, but had added sweetness from crunchy pomegranate seeds.
And in case all this cold seafood leaves you frigid, the monkfish and chorizo stew was a hearty, dusky broth that warmed the cockles nicely.
A few of the dishes could have used a smidge more salt, but that’s presumably a trade off for staying healthy and avoiding rich; it’s healthy food that tastes really good.
And with a thriving trade in pre-prepared fish to cook at home, activities like filleting classes and a new basement section in the offing, 2014 should be a happy new year for the Prawn team.