As regular readers know, we’re huge fans of the Admiral (and many of you are too). After all, it’s on our doorstep, and has become a kind of unofficial HQ for The Kentishtowner at play (Thursday nights, since you ask).
Yes, over the last few months we’ve explored their real ales, zipped through their home-infused spirits (bar manager Roxy’s spiced rum always warms the cockles), and even been kicked out when discovered, woozily, after closing time in the fairy-lit courtyard.
But we resisted Roxy’s offer of Sunday lunch for a while, not being massive fans of the pub roast genre (usually overpriced and disappointing).
So for this new column – imaginatively entitled Best Sunday Lunch? – we’ll endeavour to overturn our prejudice as we seek out north London’s finest. And where better place to start?
There’s a choice of four or five mains and all arrive heaving with seasonal vegetables – roasted butternut squash, carrot mash, broccoli. Chicken was tender and delicious, the pork belly even more so, slow roasted in cider for four hours. A stilton-infused nut roast, meanwhile, proved to be a far cry from the dry horrors of Christmas past, a ‘vegetarian alternative worth returning for,’ enthused co-editor Tom.
To finish we all scoffed home-made ginger cake and custard, a real highlight – like the best school pudding ever – and made with four different types of ginger, according to Roxy, who cooks all the food herself.
Some suggestions? Perhaps reduce the potatoes and increase the protein, but we’re guessing the portions are carefully costed to fit the good-value £10 price tag. Oh and on our visit, there were no children’s portions for the chicken, but this is apparently changing soon.
Overall, though, we were very surprised at what a pleasant daytime pub this is, with its more leisurely weekending-kinda-bespectacled-crowd, the sense of peace only compromised by the occasional spurt of ankle-biters across the polished wooden floor.
Best Sunday Lunch? Rating: 8/10
Tapping The Admiral are offering Kentishtowner readers a free pint with their roast. How very nice of them. See sidebar ad for more details. And look out for live music on Sunday afternoons soon.
Where next, comrades? Where do you nominate for Best Sunday Lunch?
Words & Pics: Stephen Emms
We had a very poor Sunday roast here in October. Tough meat, watery gravy and a watery cauliflower cheese that we decided not to eat on the grounds that it tasted so weird. Sad the quality has declined so much.
I'm wondering if you ate half the meat before you took the picture? Plenty of veg, but hardly enough meat to fill a softy!
Because of this post at this very Kentishtowner a few friends of mine and I excursed to the Admiral less then two months ago. Without having had a big night out before, which might have altered competence to judge, we ordered nutroast, porkbelly roast, bangers plus mash - no big deal. Then time stood still. With no exception ALL of us were awed. Bangers were firm, perfectly seasoned and full of flavour and out of this world homemade thick and red-winy gravy. Similar with the slightly chunky mash, which was meat with applause. The nutroast was exceptional, really nice texture and flavours, still a bit of bite to the cabbage, which held all the vegetarian goodness together. the porkbelly was underwhelming, but ONLY for the reason that it virtually had no meaty bits. Sides we're equally flavoursome, perfectly roasted and generously spread. Clean licked plates went back to the kitchen accompanied by compliments to the kitchen. Good, honest, flavoursome food. Good times.
Since then we came a few times and witnessed a rapid decline in quality of what comes out of the kitchen at the Admiral. Watery gravy, inconsistent plates with different amounts of food, nut roast falling apart, less flavour, overall lack of texture and heat. The dishes were not cold, but barely hitting 50 degrees C. Still better then many other places that offer a roast for 10 quidders, but what happened?
The menu has grown from 3 to 5 or 6(?) options, which is probably one of the reasons why something so exceptionally good - easily the best roast for miles - has become average. Or maybe swapped out the chef?
Hard to imagine, that the first try was a one-off, but clearly some sacrifices have been made.
Still a lovely place thoough. Give Meantime London Lager a go, if you like your beer dry.
My wife hates traditional Sunday roasts so we never get to eat them.... I think weng wah house up the hill in be size park is the best Sunday lunch...not sure if u allow that as it is nw3....
Only slightly off the subject, it is a shame the only food on other days is a full Thai meal. Granted it is quite good and only £5 but if you only want a bowl of soup, a sandwich or a hot dog to go with the beer which is the point of going there, there is nothing. Why do so many pubs think they must have a kitchen with a full on meal or nothing? I'd even pay over the odds for a Marks and Spencer sandwich..
My previous prejudice, regarding the Lion and Unicorn, was overturned by a splendid roast. When the waiter asked if I'd enjoyed my meal, and I told them how good it was, he commented on how surprised I sounded. And it's true, as I'm usually disappointed. Surely being happy with a pub roast shouldn't be a novelty? Looking forward to testing out Tapping the Admiral - looks delicious!