Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Drapers Arms review - Islington Barnsbury Street cosy pub


Address: 44 Barnsbury Street
London N1 1ER
Tel: 020 7619 0348
Nearest Tube station: Highbury & Islington/
Caledonian Road & Barnsbury

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £20 pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ***
Service: ***
Ambience: ****
Some believe that if you are going to move to a new area, the best way to know more about the vicinity is pay the local pub a visit. A couple did just that when we were lunching at Drapers Arms some time back. In fact, they were thinking of buying one of those terrace houses opposite Drapers Arms and decided to pop into the pub for a cuppa while waiting for their property agent. How did I know that? They literally announced it to everyone when placing their orders.


The menu were still being printed out when we turned up at Drapers Arms that day and we got it still warm a couple of minutes and some slices of bread later. The waitress informed us that they had ran out of burgers. A disappointment as I was on a quest to compare the burgers served at Islington’s pubs.


I opted for the whole plaice (£13.50) instead. It came with salsify, which was refreshing as I never had one of those before. I find the addition of brown shrimps a bit curious. The tiny shrimps added that extra bit of chewiness to the fish dish. Nice touch there.

There was a light sprinkle of sea salt on the fish and that enhanced the plaice's flavour. While the fish was clearly fresh, it was a pity that the oil was allowed to collect at the bottom and that soaked the fish from beneath.

Wife’s wild rabbit (£12.50) was really well cooked according to her. It came with mushrooms and purple sprouting broccoli. I thought that the rabbit came across as a tad tough but Wife was really happy with it so I guess that was what mattered.


By the time we finished, the Little One was wide awake and fussing but we were determined to squeeze in a cheesecake. Drapers Arms’ cheesecake looked suspiciously chocolaty and came with a dollop of cream. Not only that, it came with a lethal dose of raspberry. We didn’t taste very much of the cheese as the raspberry was simply overwhelming. I would probably skip the cheesecake the next time round.

Drapers Arms will set you at ease if you are moving to the area. The locals came in with baby strollers and buggies, and quite a few with their puppies warmly wrapped up as well. There’s a fireplace tucked in a corner with creaky old sofas set right in front of it. Shelves of old Penguin classics lined the wall around the fireplace. Sounds cosy? It is.

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