Approximate Sunday afternoon pricing: starters from £4-6, mains from £10-13, desserts from £5-6
Where to go?
Mrs. LF and I met up with a good friend a few Sundays ago in Kenwood park to take a walk and then get some grub. By the way, this is the guy whose mom cooked us the most amazing Iranian meal a while back. After meandering through the woods for about an hour, our stomachs were grumbling too loudly to be ignored any longer, so we headed back to our cars. But where should we go to eat? True, Kenwood House does have a cafe, but having met friends there for many years now, I can say I am not overly impressed with what they have to offer, so we needed to vacate the premises, and quickly.
The debate about where to go then ensued. Mrs. LF did not want to go to the Rose & Crown (a recently re-launched Highgate pub which is now more restaurant than pub, which we went to a while ago and I rather liked) or to XO (the Belsize Park rendition of e&o), and we were beginning to run out of nearby options that sounded appealing. Then it dawned upon us: we should go to The Lord Palmerston (TLP), a wonderful little pub we visited for a friend’s birthday last year and had been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.
TLP is located just up the hill from Tufnell Park underground station on a residential street. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s a more interesting affair. Besides the main room, where the bar is located and where there is a large wood table and a smattering of smaller ones, there is also a library room (where you can have more formal table service) and another lighter room on the other side of the ground floor (pictured at the top of this review). They also have a nice looking private room upstairs next to the loos, with lots of rustic wood and character. The pub is part of the Geronimo Inns group, of which there are about 20 across London. I haven’t been to any of the others, but I hear recently refurbished The Elgin is meant to be nice too.
What to eat?
Once settled at the large wood table in the main room, we were ready to fill our bellies. We were in Britain, it was Sunday, and we were in a pub, so I’ll let you work out what we decided to order.
I went for the pork roast, and it was pretty much spot on. The hunk of pig itself was very tender and had a nice full flavor to it. The applesauce, which didn’t taste store-bought and had a dash of cinnamon, went very nicely with the meat as you’d expect. The vegetables, while rather traditionally ‘plain’ in the English Sunday Roast style, were pretty good. The stand-out here was the purple cabbage, which had a rich and sweet taste, and although it had probably been doctored up with sugar or some other sweetening agent in the kitchen, I gobbled it up quickly. Also good were the two flatbread shaped strips of crackling. One was slightly burnt, but they were otherwise deliciously simple. The roast potatoes were fine, though nothing to get excited about.
I decided to go for a glass of the 2006 Louis Latour Chardonnay to drink with the pork, and it paired well with the rich flavor of the meat.
As you can see, all three of our dishes were pretty much the same except for the meat we had chosen, so I won’t comment again on the accompaniments. Mrs. LF really loved her piece of beef, and was extremely satisfied with her meal – a rare feat in and of itself (god, my puns are awful). I tasted it too, and pretty much concurred.
Our friend reluctantly liked his lamb, which had gravy (as did the others) and a mint sauce on the side. Like me, he is not the biggest fan of the Sunday Roast, but he had to admit they had put in a good effort at TLP, and consumed his plate of food according to the ancient Persian principles of time (i.e. it took a very…long…time). I had suggested a glass of the organic 2005 Rioja Crianza (Bodegas Aldeanuveva) to go with his lamb, and he seemed to enjoy it.
Although we were rather satiated form our meat and veg, Mrs. LF and I decided to share a dessert. We like a good crumble, so opted for the apple and berry one on offer. Unfortunately, it was pretty poor. The red fruit underneath was nothing special, but it was the top bit that really missed the boat. It was basically just some sort of raw grain granola which hadn’t even been browned or crisped – so it was sort of like eating a Pret a Manger breakfast bowl without yogurt and the granola being way too chewy and tasteless. It was a let-down after the very decent main courses. However, my sweet tooth was sort of rescued by a small glass of a decent Beaumes de Venise.
If in search of a place to have a decent pub lunch and linger on a weekend afternoon, I would definitely suggest TLP. It serves good traditional pub-grub and it’s got a nice atmosphere. We noticed that they had a range of free games you can pick up and amuse yourself and your friends with. The table next to us was playing a nerve-racking round of Jenga, which looked like good fun.
Service: N/A (but the bar staff is friendly and laid back)
Wine list: 6/10 (a decent wine list for a pub)
For more about my rating scale, click here.
*Note: I have dined at The Lord Palmerston twice.*