Mrs Kentishtowner is as thrilled as a puppy with a scotch egg. Why? Because she predicts (and boy, is she rarely wrong) that 2012 will be the year of The Colonel Fawcett, and its talented 21 year old Head Chef Dorian Kirk (from Cafe Below).

Yes, we declare this unassuming Camden backwater pub the area’s finest new dining option since the highly acclaimed Made In Camden opened in 2010. And here are three reasons why:

#1. The food. Simple as. Seasonal, inventive, and on-trend. And the flavours sing, whether it’s a starter of confit duck & jerusalem artichoke, or tiny, delicate spinach and smoked mackerel souffle, with apple, colrabi and hazelnuts. Don’t get vegetarian co-editor Tom started on the zingy combination of beetroot, pear, endive, cashel blue and spiced walnuts, either.

Of the mains, whilst Tom loved the roast red onion, chard and goats curd tart – itself a thing of rare beauty – and Mrs Kentishtowner raved about a blood-red onglet with bone marrow butter and horseradish slaw (a recession-busting £9.50), it was the pan-roast gurnard with kale, roast cauli, fennel butter and potato dumplings that showed off young Kirk’s potential in all its glory.

And we even managed to gorge on some Blumenthal-esque desserts: salt caramel ice cream with poached plum and almond crumble; and blood orange and vodka sorbet sidling up to a very velvety panna-cotta.

#2. The prices. As if the imaginative menu wasn’t enough, it’s insanely cheap for this level of cooking. Starters come in at under a fiver, whilst mains hover at the £10 mark. Desserts are a fiver or less. That’s three courses for around £20. Bargain.

#3. The location. It’s tucked away in sleepy Randolph Street. You have to seek it out – which means it’s protected, at the weekend, from the marauding Camden hordes. And we should also mention the interior: a pleasant space with open-planned gin bar, lounge and laidback dining room all in one.

As for the name, fact fans, the three twentysomething owners – Ross, Crusoe and Angus – chose it as it was the site of the last fatal duel in Britain in 1843, between Lieutenant Munro and his brother-in-law Lieutenant Colonel Fawcett, who died upstairs. If only Dorian had been on hand with a hearty dish of pork belly and kale.

This place quite simply rocks. But to finish, two pointers: dark, sexy, candlelit lighting would be Bull-&-Last-tastic, and a perfect Negroni should be on hand at all times for the ever-thirsty Mrs Kentishtowner.

This is box title
The Colonel Fawcett, Randolph Street NW1. Meal for two, including wine and service, around £60. Kentishtowner Rating*: 9/10

What do you think?

Words & Pictures: Stephen Emms

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