Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Marquess Tavern

It's come to the point that it is rather difficult to get a group of us together. Couples are getting married, and others are having children making time scarce and dates tricky. The first in our group of friends had a beautiful baby daughter and this was some cause for a celebration and a get-together.


As is customary for a Sunday, we thought it best to go for roasts and pints. Our pub of choice was The Alwyne. Alas, it was not to be. Given we booked a table of 15, we were disturbed to find they had gone to no effort whatsoever to accomodate us, placing us on two tables in an empty pub. After re-arranging the furniture, we found that most of the meals had run out by 2pm, and they told us it was over an hour wait. A grumpy barman and extremely under-staffed, upon holding a hand out for some change, my friend found his fiver dumped in a puddle of beer. Quite simply, they didn't give two shits.

We're an indignant bunch so after a quick ring around, we managed to get a table at the Marquess Tavern. It couldn't have been a starker contrast. We were seated in the bar area and it was light, airy and the waiting staff were more than happy to have us. A touch more expensive than the last pub, we placed our orders and got stuck in.

Four of us shared a whole braised shoulder of lamb. A huge hunk of meat, it was plonked down and we gazed at it in hungry awe. I am convinced that carrots, smothered in meat juices, are the only vegetable you can cook for hours and still make them taste delicious. As I carved it, the meat fell off the bone in juicy hunks. Dishes of broccoli were perfectly cooked, and roasted potatoes were so fresh from the oven that at least two of us jammed them in and had to spit them out, they were so hot. (Yes, I was one of them.)

Elsewhere at the table, rare roast sirloin beef looked perfectly cooked and juicy. Grouse was served traditionally with game toast and parsnip crisps, while whole roasted baby chicken (below) was declared a triumph. Whatever; I had eyes only for the lamb.

We stayed late into the night, replete and thankful we hadn't uprooted a new mum down the road in vain. I heard several people down the table saying it was the best roast they'd had and they'd be back. No small praise, considering we all know how hard it is to beat a home-cooked roast. Shame on you, The Alwyne.

The Marquess Tavern

32 Canonbury St
Islington, N1 2TB


Tel:
(020) 7354 2975

Marquess Tavern on Urbanspoon

15 comments:

miss south said...

Thanks for the tip about the Marquess Tavern, because The Alwyne is a hateful shit tip all the time and strangely beloved of my friend who lives close by. Perhaps I can lure her with the promise of a roast...

Terdster said...

Nice bit o lamb. You might be right about the carrots and the long cooking thing. Can't think of alternatives, they turn to mush.

Tell your smug mates that there'll be no lamb shoulders for their babykins. In 20 years she'll be starving and fighting in the streets over tins of beans, oh yes.

Sarah said...

Second attempt at posting a comment! Anyway, a great recommendation. Who needs to tolerate poor service when there are better pubs around the corner who'll actually make you feel welcome!
Made me feel very hungry - despite being a veggie. Thanks

Pavel said...

Shoulder of Lamb is officially the best bit of Lamb by far for a good slow cooking. I bloody love the stuff. Another one on the list of places to try!

The Shed said...

Yet another tasty looking place in my postcode I've yet to visit. Must Try Harder.
And good on 'em for saving the day, not many pubs could accommodate 15 at the last minute.

The Grubworm said...

Loving the look of that braised shoulder, like Pavel, i reckon the shoulder is the king of cuts in terms of lamb, so much so, i managed to scarf a whole half shoulder in one sitting at a pub in Oxfordshire once. I only realised it was a sharing dish afterward...

Good to know about the relative (de)merits of The Alwyne and The Marquess.

jamesramsden said...

Went for a pint there the other day - really nice pub. Will be eating next time around.

Patrick said...

I go to the Alwyne about once a week as play sport nearby there. Perfectly fine to drink in but haven't eaten there.

I've seen food coming out of the kitchen before and the pics of your food at the Marquess look much nicer.

The London Foodie said...

Never heard of this place before, and I live just around the corner! I will make sure to visit soon, thanks for the shout!

On the other hand, I will definitely stay away from The Alwyne, can't believe such rudeness.

Luiz @ The London Foodie

An American in London said...

You know, I used to love the Marquess. Back when it was owned by the same folks who own the Hawksmoore, in fact. But recent visits were lackluster - nothing bad about the food, but not very good, either.

It is a nice room with nice, staff, though, and I see what a godsend it was after the Alwyne (which I've never visited and apparently rightfully so).

An American in London said...

PS addressed to @Luiz: just a few years ago, the Marquess was TimeOut's gastropub of the year or something along those lines. So I remember when it was higher profile.

Dave said...

Had to endure the Alwyne once for a birthday party. What a pit. Vowed never to go back.
The Marquess Tavern however is a true gem. Strangely enough though I have never returned. Must correct that.

Christie @ Fig and Cherry said...

Wow, that place looks great! I agree about slow cooked carrots - I always shove a couple under roasts to elevate them in the pan and the carrots always taste amazing afterwards (practical and yummy, you can't ask for much more from a humble root veg!).

Greedy Diva said...

Love the look of this! Along these lines, 32 Great Queen street does great big roasty platter things for sharing around the table and they're usually pretty fabulous. It's not exactly a pub though, but feels a bit pubby.

Tim £31.75 said...

That lamb looks amazing. Went there about six months ago and don't remember the food standing out but sounds like it deserves a revisit...