Whilst it’s always good to uncover under the radar bargain fun, we know that sometimes you’re being frugal so you can treat yourself and splash out on some real fun. With that in mind, from time to time we’ll be blogging about where to spend your hard saved cash and still get ace value for money…
Here at Frugl have every intention of writing about a huge array of London’s tasty and affordable eateries on this blog, but it’s proving pretty difficult to escape our Archway HQ when we’re hemmed in at every corner by every possible type of deliciousness.
Leading the way is recently refurbished gastropub the St.John’s Tavern. Even before it got a wash and brush-up the Tavern was one of the finest purveyors of hearty food and craft beer in the area, but after a summer of subtle refits and refinements it has upped it’s game even further. The bar area in which we ate has been brightened and simplified, new beer taps serving deeply-flavoured German wheat beer Rothaus have been installed like sentinels of thirst-quenching goodness and, judging by the food we ate, the kitchen have added an extra gear of scrumptiousness to their already finely honed engine.
As either an antidote to a boozy Saturday night out or simply a warm Sunday afternoon haven, the Tavern really is unsurpassable. After knocking back a Bloody Mary full of gritty spice and sparky, juicy punch I was presented with one of the smartest, tastiest roast dinners I have ever eaten, The meat was lean, fat free, just the right side of rare and infused with the sort of deep flavours that make you ever so grateful to the cow you’re eating for the hours of yoga and transcendental meditation it must have gone through to achieve this level of flavour. It was accompanied by roasted carrot and parsnip that was cleverly sliced to contain a sweet juicy roast flavour at its thick end, tapering to a crunchy, crisp point. All of this gently bathed in a cep jus that was homely and hearty without being over-powering and watching over it was the sort of Yorkshire pudding that would have left Aunt Bessie in paroxyms of joy. A gorgeous shade of egg-yellow in the centre, fading into smart well-cooked light brown at the edges, it simply begged to be used as a carrier for all the excellent flavours on the plate or simply act as a gravy sponge itself. In fact, all told, this roast dinner was just a couple of roast potatoes from perfection. Those we got were also bang on target – fluffy and kitten soft on the inside, but with a robust crunch on the exterior. I’m sad to tell any ardent supporters of The Stag in Hampstead: good as it may be, St.Johns have trumped your roast!
It being a day with the letter “y” in, there was no way I could refuse a dessert and the chocolate, hazelnut and raspberry tart would have had Mary Berry giving the chef a free pass to the Bake-Off final. A superbly crafted case contained the sort of chocolate that means I have to dust off that old-fashioned word of culinary joy: lashings. For that’s what it was – mouthful after mouthful of viscous, gooey chocolate excellence, accompanied by the sort of raspberry ice cream and sauce that would make Prince proud of the tribute paid to his favourite colour.
In fact, probably the best praise that can be given to the food is the photographs accompanying this blog post. The food smelt and looked so good, I had already dived into it before I had the presence of mind to take a picture of is for posterity! Safe to say that the photos are entirely for the benefit of the reader, as my belly will remember this meal with great fondness for many Sundays to come.
St.John’s Tavern can be found on 91 Junction Road, Archway, N19 5QU. It’s open from Mon-Thurs 5-11pm, Fri-Sat Midday – Midnight, Sun Midday – 10:30pm. For more details go to www.stjohnstavern.com