Review: York and Albany, Camden

I had lunch the other day with my friend Charlotte. It’s worth saying here that we have a marvellous time …

I had lunch the other day with my friend Charlotte. It’s worth saying here that we have a marvellous time wherever we go, as proven once in an empty Chinese Restaurant on Highgate Hill where we gossiped and giggled, hardly registering the damp – or deep fried disasters.

But at the York & Albany, whilst we had fun as usual, our meal was not the culinary experience it should have been. That’s not to say we are not fond of the place: the mother-in-law pizzas, its life as a gin palace, its essential north London-ness.

Yet nothing blew us away. We started with salt and pepper squid to share from the small plates and, thinking this might be a bit mimsy, were recommended the Buffalo wings. Monty Python’s wildebeest and caribou sprung to mind – maybe flying – but we were assured that there were no actual buffalo, just chicken wings, crunchy and slightly under-cooked. The squid were fine, but overall? A bit of a KFC starter.

For mains, I opted for hake with spaghetti, razor clams, lime and chilli: whilst knowing in my heart that this was odd, in the hands of a flagship kitchen it could surely be a magnificent dish, ticking off most of my favourite food groups. And yes, it was odd; not nasty, not unpleasant, but certainly not transcending the sum of its parts. Also, where were the razor clams? I like them because they are repulsive and weird – and yet often sublime. In this case they were just chopped up as part of the sauce. Pleasant but pointless.

Charlotte announced that what she wanted was a pizza or burger. I checked if she was hungover (she wasn’t). A lovely shiny bun, medium to well done as requested; fine but underwhelming. And it took a while to get mustard (‘French or Dijon?’). I didn’t nick any chips, which may say a lot more about their appeal than my good manners or restraint.

Lovely New Zealand Tin Pot Hut Sauvignon Blanc, an okay Eton not-very-messy Mess with something pink on top of it, and more chat. We had to ask where our coffee was, and were told that it had been made but no one had brought it out. I felt guilty that I hadn’t gone to get it myself. Plus Charlotte took umbrage at us being called ‘ladies’ all the time.

So like I say, not quite up there with the best, which is a shame – and by the way, no set lunch menu?

This is box title
York & Albany, 127 Parkway NW1. Mains £14-27 Kentishtowner Rating 6/10

Words: Susie Innes


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  • Adam

    was good the first time we went, bad the second and third. Drinks venue only for us now…

  • LKH

    Been twice- both times the food was average and the service was lacking. Don’t feel a need to go back, which is a shame as it has so much potential to be good.

  • Michael wood

    Went for Sunday lunch about a year ago and there was a platoon on ants on manoeuvres along the skirting. Can’t even remember the food.

  • Nick Stevens

    Been there a few times but only on a break from Park Village next door, oh and a lunch downstairs in a very dark corner. The food wasn’t that bad but boy was it hot!! (not spicy, just heat hot)
    Have pots of tea most of the time when I go. Last time I was there I saw Hugh Laurie in the corner but I was trying to be cool by pretending I didn’t know who he was.

  • Tom

    only eaten once but a massive disappointment…definitely a drinks only place

  • Wendy on Burghley Road

    I ate lunch here last week and the food (I had the seabream) was divine and service was good. very nice sitting in the sun on their back patio too. and we spotted Margaret from the Apprentice, too. They DID have a lunch special set menu, I think it was something like £18 for 2 courses which seemed good value.