Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The House Pub and Dining Room review – Canonbury gastro pub sanctuary


Address: 63-69 Canonbury Road,
London N1 2DG
Tel: 020 7704 7410
Nearest Tube station: Highbury and Islington

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £20 pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ***
Service: ****
Ambience: **
We very nearly wanted to head back to Isarn for lunch last weekend. Perhaps the only thing that held us back was the uncomfortable familiarity that Isarn’s staff was starting to show with us. A knowing smile that we would almost certainly order a mango with black sticky rice as dessert made me uneasy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff would the lovely dessert ready the moment we asked for it the next time round. Darn it, it is tasty! I would probably spring a surprise on them by ordering one of those sorbet the next time round.

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Wife was again surfing the net for child friendly eating places in the vicinity and come upon The House Pub and Dining Room, which was within walking distance. I called up the award winning (it says so on its website) gastro pub along Canonbury Road to check whether they are fine with a buggy (while conveniently made no mention about the screamer residing in it) and if they have a table for two.

“Oh, we’re perfectly fine with buggies. And it’s not that busy now so there’s really no need for you to reserve a table,” a guy answered on the other end of the line.

The House Pub and Dining Room (quite a mouthful really, I’m going to call it The House from now) is set on a triangular patch at a small y-junction. As it was a Bank holiday weekend and most Londoners were trapped along M25, the area was rather serene and I would prefer to go for outdoor seating if not for the chilly winds.

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The staff understated earlier. The House wasn’t “not that busy” when we stepped in at around 2pm, it was almost empty save for two tables. That was probably why our food arrived a mere 10 minutes after we placed our orders. Warm bread was served and we were so taken with the walnut variety that we requested for seconds, which the staff promptly served with a smile.

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I asked for my House burger (£12.50) to be served medium rare and it was just that – a bit pinkish on the inside with juice oozing out when I cut through it. A pity that its exterior was a tad charred and there wasn’t much taste in the patty itself. Instead, it relied on the caramelised onion spread thinly on one side for that.

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Wife was raving about her beer battered fish and chips (£12.50). The fish, though thin, was really fresh with each slice tearing cleanly away from the next. It came with sea salt sprinkled on it and a half a slightly roasted lemon. The mushy peas could have been less granular though – I couldn’t decide whether it was just peas gone too mushy or simply undercooked mushy peas.

Towards the end of our meal, more customers streamed in as the rain got heavier, and began settling down on The House’s eclectic mix of furniture – a collection of recycled wooden tables and chairs, with mismatched leather sofas. A toddler was rambling around the dining area with a member of the staff running after him. A child friendly place? Absolutely.

House on Urbanspoon

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