The Drapers Arms, Islington, London
Pub Type: Gastropub
The Drapers Arms I am always getting recommendations and tips of restaurants that I should visit because the food is either wonderful, in a good location, wonderful views, great service, etc. etc. and generally I have not been disappointed. However there have been occasions when I have been severely disappointed and this was certainly the case with The Drapers Arms in Islington, London. So the Blonde and I were sitting watching Raymond Blanc’s current TV program where we were being told how we should be roasting our meat. To emphasis this we were then transported to what is meant to be the roasting Mecca of London, The Drapers Arms. We […]
The Drapers Arms
I am always getting recommendations and tips of restaurants that I should visit because the food is either wonderful, in a good location, wonderful views, great service, etc. etc. and generally I have not been disappointed. However there have been occasions when I have been severely disappointed and this was certainly the case with The Drapers Arms in Islington, London.
So the Blonde and I were sitting watching Raymond Blanc’s current TV program where we were being told how we should be roasting our meat. To emphasis this we were then transported to what is meant to be the roasting Mecca of London, The Drapers Arms. We are told how they do this and how they do that to produce what is meant to be the perfect Sunday roast. So with a few clicks of the mouse I find myself with a table booked to see how this master roaster performs.
Having received such high praise from Monsieur Blanc expectations were high as we walked through the door. The place was busy which is always encouraging and we were quickly escorted to our table in the upstairs dining room. This too seamed quite pleasant with the sash windows open and a pleasant breeze keeping things cool but it certainly lacked the buzz of the main bar and garden area. I am sure at some point in the day the dining room shines but I would certain say that it’s decorated in a minimalist way with a few pictures on the walls and a large old fashioned dresser as the main staff workstation. It certainly did not inspire.
So having waited 15 minutes or so we managed to tease a menu from one of the waiting staff. There was an apology for the delay, so we ordered some drinks and perused the menu.
And we waited again. This sadly was a trend that continued throughout the meal, the waitress looking after us was very polite but everything took an age to arrive or get done.
So having had plenty of time to read the menu two or three times while we decide on the globe artichoke and duck rillettes to start and given the reputation for wonderful roasts we opt for the sirloin having been told that the rib had already sold out (not great considering we were only half way through the service). Having ordered, we were then told that the artichoke had also sold out so a quick decision was made to go with the gazpacho soup instead.
In the meantime, we had been offered what I think was homemade bread. To be honest I was not sure if it was, but if that was the case no one made an effort to let you know that someone had laboured over it.
So our starters arrive, but the wine is still yet to be seen. This is quickly sorted out and we continue.
Everything about the duck rillettes was average; it tasted fine but just lacked any inspiration. I cannot think of anything else to say any about it to be honest. The gazpacho was better and had a nice colour was not to spicy or too cold and was generally quite pleasant.
So we then move onto the main course which to be honest was the main reason we ended up in the Drapers Arms in the first place. How good could a roast really be?
On first impressions things looked good. That was until I moved the monster Yorkshire pudding which was sat regally on top of the meat and hid everything from view. Once this had been moved aside it was a different story. I don’t mind a bit of fat on my meat, I appreciate that it is essential to impart flavour and is an intrinsic part of the character of beef. There is nothing better than some nice crispy fat on a piece of beef but this was nothing like that; more like a sponge which had used to clean up an oil spill. Sinew was a plenty and even the steak knife struggled to separate the good from the bad. It was all very disappointing. This had to be some of the worst beef I have been served for a very, very long time, I should have inquired into its provenance just so I can avoid it again as I am sure this animal should have been destined for the shoe factory not the butcher.
The roast potatoes were nothing to get excited about either, these should be nicely browned and crunch on the outside while nice and fluffy within. These were very nearly right they looked the part but lacked any crunch. The monster Yorkshire pudding was at least crispy but cold. Even the gravy lacked substance and flavour.
Nothing could rescue this plate of food but the wilted greens and carrots had to be the highlight of this dish; both nice and fresh with good flavour but sadly these alone do not make a good roast lunch.
The starter was indifferent; the main course was bad so we ordered our pudding on the basis that this should be good. And good it was, certainly the highlight of the meal. We shared a chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream; I wish I hadn’t agreed to share as I could have eaten this one on my own. The horrendous main was soon forgotten; at least until the bill arrived.
I do hope this was just an off day for the kitchen, perhaps the chef was on holiday or it was his day off. I don’t know. Whatever the case if this is the norm then someone needs to raise their game.
I certainly don’t think Mr Blanc would have been so gushing if he had been in our shoes that day.
All in all we were both very disappointed, we stated off with great expectations only to be left feeling that we could do better at home. The only saving grace was at least we did not have to do the washing up.
44 Barnsbury Street
London N1 1ER