Today we launch a new series: Secret Camden. No need for a Secret Kentish Town, of course, as that was basically the genesis of this very blog. Camden, however, is a thing of beauty for those in the know, but difficult, tourist-swamped and unyielding for many Londoners.
So let’s give the cliches an almighty swerve and start with a particular favourite of ours, The Lord Stanley. Mrs Kentishtowner often sighs with nostalgia at this charming boozer, mostly because it’s opposite the flat where, back in 1997, she shared a tiny studio room with her Elastica T-shirts – and a short-lived Mr Camden Square.
But enough of her cider-tinged memories; instead we’ll hand over to journalist Mark Williams, who’s about to take you for Sunday lunch at this leafy junction where Camden Square waves, across the hellish Camden Road, at a winking Torriano.
‘It was a sunny afternoon,’ says Mark, ‘on which I’d made the promise of a Tufnell Park sightseeing trip to gaze upon the house used in TV series Spaced, followed by either a brunch or lunch, depending on where we chanced upon. Happily, that led us, in a roundabout way, to The Lord Stanley, an absolute gem of a pub that I had neglected for some time.
‘Tucked away next to St Paul’s Church, it makes a pleasing first impression with a striking green tiled ceiling, open plan kitchen, and simple wooden tables. And no-one is ever more than three steps away from the bar (always an important consideration).
‘We had the kind of hunger that only a Sunday roast can satisfy, so while the menu was full of temptation of all kinds, from risotto to fisherman’s pie, the only real decision was chicken or beef. (A vegetarian option too, of course, but I’ve never held with that sort of subversive behaviour.) So we opted for the roast chicken, to serve two people (£22), on a giant serving dish, complete with carving knife and fork, vegetables, two large Yorkshire puddings, and tatties that I am still thinking about even now.
‘It can be a tricky thing to find a good roast, but the Lord Stanley has taken the traditional number, kept it simple, seasoned everything to perfection, and put enough on there for you to pick at, as if you were at home. An excellent choice of ales and beers too, as well as a top-notch wine list, and a very tempting jug of Bloody Mary blushing at the bar.
‘There’s no pose or posture; no attitude from the staff; it just has all the right ingredients to be an essential North London destination for foodies, or perfect boozer for a casual drink or three.’
Thanks Mark. And, if this all sounds a little sedate for you, our most rock ‘n’ roll readers, Mrs Kentishtowner is quite happy to bore you about those raucous early mornings when they’d all dance on the tables, after hours, to Shed Seven.
Oh, them were the days. The Lord Stanley, 51 Camden Park Road. Kentishtowner Rating*: 8/10.
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