Food North London Eating Thread...let's give it a go

Depends on what you are looking for wine wise; picked up a very good Azores Red from the Soho shop a couple of weeks back. Agree with Tom on the liqueurs/eaux de vie selection; very extensive.

Should be a welcome addition to Muswell Hill; will certainly give Jeroboams some competition which is no bad thing!
 
Just to support Mark/Thom's thoughts on Amathus, they are using the same formula in Muswell so lots of shelf space dedicated to vermouths, gins, Marc, floc and other goodies. Lots of bitters as well. Interestingly nearly all their port comes from Calem, am going to start with a 20 yr Tawny to see how their style suits. Wine shelves not quite as exciting, many unfamiliar names so will need to do some homework.
On food, hoping I haven't mentioned before, we have found that Granary Thai on Stroud Green Rd just after the Old Dairy heading to Finsbury Park station is a very solid option.
 
Drinks rather than food related in this instance. I noticed today whilst in Muswell Hill that Amathus Drinks are opening a store on the corner of Princes Avenue/Muswell Hill Broadway. No opening date displayed on the window and inside it is still pretty much a shell but I would imagine that they would planning on going "live" sometime next month.
That’s funny because they had a branch there in the 70’s/80’s before that useless French chain took over the site.
 
Well two developments, one mildly negative, one promising. On the first, I totter on my old legs down to the new Amathus to have a go at these Azores wines, but apparently now out of stock...I blame some dodgy beardy type interloper from Highbury way.
More hopeful, visited a new place called Bottles'n'jars. This is next to a car showroom in the sort of dead zone between Highgate and East Finchley, on the right just before East Finchley tube heading north, opposite start of Bishops Avenue. Apparently set up as a project by a couple of somms (?from the Clove Club) and the owner of said car showroom. Early stages but could be a useful addition. At this point the wine selection seems to be still building, quite eclectic, but definitely at more interesting quality point that many: several different cuvees from Le Grappin; Produttori 2017; Mullieneux straw wine; Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo; Savage Syrah from SA; Isole e Olena; Borgogno Barolo; Raventos cava; Tempier rose. Also a small high-end selection of groceries - olive oils, vinegars, grains, pasta. Some cheese and charcuterie starting soon. Even better, they are setting up an Italian restaurant behind the shop, apparently aiming fairly upmarket, though we shall have to wait for happier times to see what's on there. A quick peek round the corner did indicate there may be a fair amount of outdoor space though, which might enable earlier opening. bottlesnjars.co.uk website, though from a quick look not everything listed there yet.
 
The "bearded interloper" ventured into the Highgate/East Finchley "dead zone" this afternoon to check out "Bottles n Jars" as recommended above. An odd location for sure and it could benefit from a larger offering but was pretty impressed with what was on offer. I saved the Borgogno Timorasso for another time and picked up a Cesconi Nosioloa from Trentino which I'll comment on the weekly drinking thread. I wish them well.
 
Just an update to say Pickle & Brine are back in action so got delivery today - Fernando the chef was stranded in Brazil. Fine Dining & BBQ Catering in London | Pickle and Brine Reckon this is one of the best deals around, see attached - £42 for 3 people delivered with what almost constitute two mains, plus side and dessert.
 

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Look forward to giving this a go, was slightly bemused when I had e-mailed them twice previously and then received no response so assumed that had gone out of business. Just got the update last week so will look to give them a go on Friday
 
Look forward to giving this a go, was slightly bemused when I had e-mailed them twice previously and then received no response so assumed that had gone out of business. Just got the update last week so will look to give them a go on Friday
More on the tasty comfort food rather than fine dining side of things but big portions and nice chap.
 
So the restaurant next to Bottles'n'jars has finally opened, named The Engine Rooms. The Engine Rooms | North London | Restaurant, Bar and Events Space
It is attached/intertwined with the high end car dealership next door so browsing opportunities - £600,000 Aston Martin anyone? - and has been very nicely set up, outdoor eating at the moment but wide courtyard with pots and plants and good outdoor heaters. Riedel and Spiegelau glassware and nice rustic-lite crockery and lots of space - interior has high ceilings and a couple of function rooms, quite Mediterranean feel. Not everything is up and running yet, so bar area for drinks not there yet, for example.
It turned out we were their first paying customers, so inevitably a couple of hiccups but nothing material and comped by management. Interestingly it looks they have chosen to charge the food at full prices, which might look quite punchy for North London, and have lower average bottle price/lower mark-ups on the wine. Starters are £10-15, including excellent octopus - they seem to have a good grill focus - and mains either side of £30. We had very well-prepared wild sea bass and monkfish tail dishes, and portions were proper sizes, then good hazelnut parfait dessert which didn't feel like an afterthought. So you are looking at a food bill around £60 per head for a trad 3 courser, while there are exotic pizzas and salads on the menu. The wine list is now longer than on website, with most bottles in the £25-40 range, many of them slightly off-piste - I guess courtesy of the tie-in to Bottles'n'jars which has ex-Clove Club somms involvement. I think the most expensive white was a Du Grappin macon-villages at £50, 150% mark-up on retail, we had a very decent Jurancon Sec. Champagne is Charles Heidseck. As yet, corkage policy a bit unclear, will keep nudging them.
So, given there are no transport costs for us, we are pleased to welcome this one to our neck of the woods and suspect things will evolve over next few months. Not sure if they will bring in custom more from moneyed Highgate or further north, will certainly try again soon.IMG-20210707-WA0006.jpgIMG-20210707-WA0010.jpgIMG-20210707-WA0008.jpgIMG-20210707-WA0009.jpg
 
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So the restaurant next to Bottles'n'jars has finally opened, named The Engine Rooms. The Engine Rooms | North London | Restaurant, Bar and Events Space
It is attached/intertwined with the high end car dealership next door so browsing opportunities - £600,000 Aston Martin anyone? - and has been very nicely set up, outdoor eating at the moment but wide courtyard with pots and plants and good outdoor heaters. Riedel and Spiegelau glassware and nice rustic-lite crockery and lots of space - interior has high ceilings and a couple of function rooms, quite Mediterranean feel. Not everything is up and running yet, so bar area for drinks not there yet, for example.
It turned out we were their first paying customers, so inevitably a couple of hiccups but nothing material and comped by management. Interestingly it looks they have chosen to charge the food at full prices, which might look quite punchy for North London, and have lower average bottle price/lower mark-ups on the wine. Starters are £10-15, including excellent octopus - they seem to have a good grill focus - and mains either side of £30. We had very well-prepared wild sea bass and monkfish tail dishes, and portions were proper sizes, then good hazelnut parfait dessert which didn't feel like an afterthought. So you are looking at a food bill around £60 per head for a trad 3 courser, while there are exotic pizzas and salads on the menu. The wine list is now longer than on website, with most bottles in the £25-40 range, many of them slightly off-piste - I guess courtesy of the tie-in to Bottles'n'jars which has ex-Clove Club somms involvement. I think the most expensive white was a Du Grappin macon-villages at £50, 150% mark-up on retail, we had a very decent Jurancon Sec. Champagne is Charles Heidseck. As yet, corkage policy a bit unclear, will keep nudging them.
So, given there are no transport costs for us, we are pleased to welcome this one to our neck of the woods and suspect things will evolve over next few months. Not sure if they will bring in custom more from moneyed Highgate or further north, will certainly try again soon.View attachment 20074View attachment 20075View attachment 20076View attachment 20077
I'll stick some fake AM badges on my Toyota iQ (= AM Cygnet) and ask them to park it for me.
 
Does Dalston count as North London? It's north of the river at least. Anyway, for any of you north of the river Londoners, there's a cracking write up of a rejuvenated and now more restauranty Mangal 2 added today to Chris Pople's cheesenbiscuits blog. It had me lusting after every single dish mentioned.
By coincidence we had lunch there on Friday.
It was delicious but the highlights were the grilled chicken thighs and cull yaw Chop rather than the more restauranty dishes. Bread was excellent.
Wine list was natural which meant to me that everything tasted a bit samey.

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Very interesting-I saw that Mangal 2 had changed tack. Even more exciting to me would be a completely unrevised Mangal menu, but using the very best produce rather than the cheap stuff necessary(sometimes it's awful-chicken, fish, tomatoes) to keep the bill low. Excellent to see them using Cull Yaw lamb-why is the chicken supplier not named, when the gulf between bog standard lamb and the good stuff is almost infinitely smaller than that between the best chicken and the merde of commerce.
 
Another fabulous meal at Lyon’s in Crouch End.

I’m a tedious fence-sitter when it comes to dressed oysters, and the two combos that we tried were a mixed bag that added further grist to the mill. "Lindisfarne with dill pickles and horseradish" proved a sublime combination with intense marine oyster, cooling dill and fiery horseradish marrying beautifully to raise the dish to a challenging yet composed and complete mouthful. "Cumbrae with nahm jim" was not such a success, lacking harmoniousness or nuance and reminding me of the time I once went mental with a bottle of tabasco in Grand Central Station. A half-bottle of Ambriel ESW fitted the bill nicely.

Things went up a gear when the two starters were served. The first was a breezy summer delight featuring spanking fresh scallops with a garnish of apple, gooseberry, elderflower and dill. The second starter couldn’t have been more different: “Brown crab chawanmushi, king crab, sesame, nori” was more of a guttural, beard-stroking affair whose rich and creamy custard base belied the armfuls of umami brown-crab intensity and surging waves of complex nori/seaweed flavours which emerged and continued to evolve minutes after each mouthful. It was a truly bizarre yet utterly magical dish and I am convinced that if it had been served blind then I would have guessed it to be some sort of failed dessert. Needless to say I was powerless to resist.

On the wine front we enjoyed two young bottles from the list, Wild Ferment Assyrtiko by Gaía in Santorini, which was an intense wine of citrus and mineral fury with a lovely honeyed lift on the finish, then Pigato, a skin contact vermentino from Clare Valley which had a peachy hue and delicate floral style underpinned by a welcome gutsy undertow of bitter peach stones. Both were excellent and paired perfectly with the cuisine.

Mains of “Halibut, miso cauliflower, yuzu, langoustine bisque” and “Pork belly, kimchi, pineapple, avocado, peanut” were imaginative and perfectly executed, serving as further examples of the tremendously high standard of cooking in this restaurant. In hands less self-assured, these kinds of fusion dishes can occasionally err on the hokey side, but Lyon’s rarely makes a sacrifice in the name of flavour. It remains a beacon of quality dining in North London.
 

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Another fabulous meal at Lyon’s in Crouch End.

I’m a tedious fence-sitter when it comes to dressed oysters, and the two combos that we tried were a mixed bag that added further grist to the mill. "Lindisfarne with dill pickles and horseradish" proved a sublime combination with intense marine oyster, cooling dill and fiery horseradish marrying beautifully to raise the dish to a challenging yet composed and complete mouthful. "Cumbrae with nahm jim" was not such a success, lacking harmoniousness or nuance and reminding me of the time I once went mental with a bottle of tabasco in Grand Central Station. A half-bottle of Ambriel ESW fitted the bill nicely.

Things went up a gear when the two starters were served. The first was a breezy summer delight featuring spanking fresh scallops with a garnish of apple, gooseberry, elderflower and dill. The second starter couldn’t have been more different: “Brown crab chawanmushi, king crab, sesame, nori” was more of a guttural, beard-stroking affair whose rich and creamy custard base belied the armfuls of umami brown-crab intensity and surging waves of complex nori/seaweed flavours which emerged and continued to evolve minutes after each mouthful. It was a truly bizarre yet utterly magical dish and I am convinced that if it had been served blind then I would have guessed it to be some sort of failed dessert. Needless to say I was powerless to resist.

On the wine front we enjoyed two young bottles from the list, Wild Ferment Assyrtiko by Gaía in Santorini, which was an intense wine of citrus and mineral fury with a lovely honeyed lift on the finish, then Pigato, a skin contact vermentino from Clare Valley which had a peachy hue and delicate floral style underpinned by a welcome gutsy undertow of bitter peach stones. Both were excellent and paired perfectly with the cuisine.

Mains of “Halibut, miso cauliflower, yuzu, langoustine bisque” and “Pork belly, kimchi, pineapple, avocado, peanut” were imaginative and perfectly executed, serving as further examples of the tremendously high standard of cooking in this restaurant. In hands less self-assured, these kinds of fusion dishes can occasionally err on the hokey side, but Lyon’s rarely makes a sacrifice in the name of flavour. It remains a beacon of quality dining in North London.
Thanks for the write up, we had a few Lyons take-aways during the Dark Times but not been back inside since the Autumn, having always enjoyed our previous visits. Friday off to Pot De Terre in Hornsey to see how he has survived the End Times (I'm feeling apocalyptic!).
 
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