Review: The Alwyne Castle, Islington

The Alwyne Castle, Islington

The Alwyne Castle, Islington - Credit: Archant

Located in leafy St Paul’s Road just up from Highbury and Islington station, the Alwyne Castle is a popular gastro pub boasting an impressive selection of ales and one the smartest beer gardens north of the river.

With space for 300 people, the beer garden out front is an understandably popular spot this time of year.

During our visit plenty of people were enjoying some al fresco dining on the large turquoise benches which fill the space.

There is also an outdoor bar and a barbecue, meaning you don’t even need to step inside the pub.

But it’s a pretty cosy and atmospheric space inside with retro lampshades, mis-matching furniture and wood panelling along the bar. There’s also a large conservatory at the back with plenty more seating.

In terms of the food, the menu doesn’t throw up many surprises – burgers, fish and chips, fish cakes, steak, pies. But looking around at the other diners’ meals, they are beautifully presented and seemed to be going down well.

I had calamari to start –light, crispy and perfectly cooked – and my friend had creamy mushrooms on toast.

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The latter was a little on the large side and she struggled to finish it knowing sausage and mash was coming next.

This too was a huge sized portion, and for July, a bit of a wintery dish to go for. Nonetheless the sausages were tasty and came swimming in a delicious, rich gravy.

I had fishcakes which were decent but with the chips as well, a little stodgy altogether.

We struggled to fit in a dessert but there’s plenty to tempt you – crumble, brownie, sticky toffee pudding and a cheese board, all for around £6.

The mains are priced between £10 and 12, while the starters come in at around £6, really reasonable considering what you get and where you are.

Instead of pudding we made the most of the impressive wine list. We started off with some Pinot Noir, light and smooth, followed by a crisp, clear Pinot Grigio rose which was perfect for this time of year.

If beer is your thing, there are plenty to choose from, including small local cask brewers, to the more well-known ales from around the world – Adnams, Doom Bar, and craft ciders including Old Rosie and Sierra Nevada.

All in all, a warm, ambient pub with excellent outdoor space, making it an ideal spot for a pie and a pint any time of the year.