It’s one of the oldest pubs in north London, but chef Gareth Thomas (who trained under Jean-Christophe Novelli & Gary Rhodes) has transformed the Grade II-listed building from drinking den to suave dining destination. There’s a cocktail bar at the front, though most of the murmuring couples & gossiping friends come for the Anglo-French food. Twice-baked goats’ cheese & thyme soufflé with buttered leeks & a walnut & honey dressing might be followed by lamb with smoked garlic mash, olive tapenade, basil pistou & red wine sauce. There are good-value set menus for weekday lunch & dinner, as well as brunch & roasts on Sundays. Original choices, a few fine vintages & half bottles make up the notable wine list. There have been complaints of casual service, but the Conran-trained lady in charge was utterly professional on our visit.
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