Review: The Grafton, Prince Of Wales Road


The Grafton is to The Kentishtowner what Pippa Middleton is to the Mail (a sexy young ratings-grabber, of course), so …



The Grafton is to The Kentishtowner what Pippa Middleton is to the Mail (a sexy young ratings-grabber, of course), so we make no excuse for running another story today. Ahem.

By now every reader must know about the reopening of this luvverly old boozer on formerly unlovely (but now very fashionable) Prince Of Wales Road. It’s the perfect reinvention, we think, in that its Victorian elegance has been restored – or rather, reimagined – whilst allowing a sense of history to pervade in its candle-lit corners. And there’s not a pretension in sight.

But what we hadn’t prepared ourselves for was how good the food is. Owners Susie and Joel remain adamant that this is not a gastropub, and rightly so: the atmosphere and crowd both day and night feels all-inclusive, reflected in lunches at a reasonable £7.

In playing down the food offering they surprised us with each dish. At the helm is James Brown (ex Punch Bowl, Knightsbridge) with co-owner Joel alongside. They get their fish from Billingsgate and source herbs and veg from both the Highgate allotment (on Swains Lane), and the Urban Growth scheme (by Camden Garden Centre). In fact, they’re even about to plant an allotment on one of the pub’s many roof terraces.

You can also try a selection of plates to share at £5 each, as we did. Mackerel came with potato and red onion salad, the crispy-skinned fishiness complemented by the sweet-sour-clean flavours of dill. Even better was Devonshire free range lemon chicken, its skin deliciously blackened, with pearl barley and chorizo (main pic).

The veggie option was, according to expert (and fallen vegetarian) co-editor Tom, a success in its marriage of portobello mushroom with red pepper compote, tomatoes and leaves from the allotment. Less successful was an oxtail stew with carrots and dumplings, but only because it lacked the freshness and surprising depth of flavour so evident in the other dishes.

To drink? There’s a short but decent wine list, with house red at around a fiver; Camden Pale Ale (whose barrels they roll down the road) and T.E.A are other favourite tipples. And there’s a range of artisan spirits too, although we have yet to explore them.

This is, inevitably, one to watch. And yes, we feel like we say that about every new opening in Kentish Town right now. Which can mean only one thing: that good stuff is happening. But nowhere is doing food at this level for these prices (feel free to correct us below). And furthermore, we love The Grafton in the peacefulness of the day, with the light pouring in through the windows.

So if you’re not so keen on Farmer Tom’s meat-heavy offering, come here: but our advice is to visit both. Lower/West Kentish Town is upping its foodie game. Big time.

This is box title
Kentishtowner Rating 8.5/10 Lunchtime mains £7. Sharing Plates £5. Expect evening service within a fortnight. 20 Prince Of Wales Road.

Words & Photos: Stephen Emms


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  • pierre

    no sharing plates or food on a Saturday after 6pm? I was really surprised…

    • Susie Clarke

      Daytime and evening food 7 days a week is imminent, watch this space!

  • Normal Citizen

    The refurbishment of this pub is truly amazing (even though i never went there before hand, it’s significantly noticeable the place has a new spark to it) there is a real nice vibe about the place. AMAZING selection of beer and ales! shame about the staff! if you are anything but white, you can forget getting served here! in 2013 the last thing you would expect is ignorance and discrimination of such levels! I’m sorry i could not choose the colour i was born with but that should not mean i am not entitled to get served, because i PAY for my service just like the next person! When this pub decides to get with the day and age then I would say it is worth going to. What a waste of good venue by small minded staff!

    • Susie Clarke

      This is a serious allegation which we want to give serious and immediate attention to, if it’s genuine, so I’m perplexed as to why we haven’t heard from you. If you’d be more comfortable, please come in and see us rather than emailing. Many thanks.

  • Susie Clarke

    Stunned to see this feedback, particularly having received the Kentishtowner Award for customer service this year. Doesn’t sound consistent with our service whatsoever, but we’re eager to hear more on your point of view on this. Could you email more detail to susie@thegraftonnw5.co.uk?

  • Ineedbroccolieverydaygoddamnit

    The roasts – where are the vegetables??! Just red cabbage, nothing else!! I even ordered a side of extra vegetables for extra nutrition and that arrived as 3 more roast potatoes, a teaspoon of sweet potato mash and… More red cabbage. Yes, potatoes are vegetables but where’s the greens? Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels? Anything. Everything else was great with the meal but with so much choice for good roasts in the area, the absence of veg is enough to not come back for one again.