The Big Review: Camden Eye, Kentish Town Road

Well worth dodging both traffic and tourists to get in to?

The Camden Eye sits in a stressful spot. Occupying the fork between Kentish Town Road and Camden Road, it’s at the tip of NW1’s busiest junction. Traffic roars, pedestrians dart and dive, sirens screech. Yet the pub is a peaceful haven, cosy and compact, and now home to a new venture: its own pizzeria.

Sneak upstairs and you’ll find a dining room furnished with heavy oak tables, old school chairs and Venetian blinds that filter the chaos of outside. The silver wallpaper – a Mulberry design dotted with Victorian-inspired shells and crockery – is like shiny tin foil, reflecting the flickering candles (and sometimes the blue lights of the emergency services). Although the acoustics can be challenging, you could easily while away the time up there gossiping over dinner. A fellow guest at the launch pointed out it would be a good date spot, and if conversation wasn’t flowing, you could have a lively enough time looking out the craziness below.

And what of the food then? The menu informed us that the chefs manning the wood-fired oven had been trained by 2008 world champion pizza-maker Francesco Santocono. It seemed plausible. The pizzas had a satisfyingly crunchy, floury base with ample, but not overwhelming, topping. The mozzarella had an elasticity to it that ensured just the right length of bungee cord between bite and base. And the passata was smooth and well seasoned.

There is a choice of ten pizzas or Pizza Al Taglio, which is a sharing selection, on the menu, and they have a selection of amusingly unconventional names. The Say Aloha to My Hawaiian Friend (tomato, mozzarella, ham and pineapple) and the How to Impress Angelina Jolie (tomato, mozzarella, black olives, goats cheese, walnuts and caramelized onions) – her favourite when made by Santocono apparently – are more enticing on the face of it than perhaps the Morrissey (tomato, mozzarella, zucchini and parmigano) or the Spaniard (tomato, mozzarella, Serrano ham, chorizo, salami and chillies). Names aside, however, the pizzas were consistently tasty, apart from the Hoisin Duck (tomato, roasted duck, spring onions, mozzarella, Hoisin sauce). Why? Because, let’s face it, hoisin sauce should never be applied to a pizza, but my companion thought differently and rated it rather highly.

At £10-a-pop, you might feel a bit short-changed by the Little Italy (tomato, mozzarella, basil), but the pizzas are a fair size. There’s a good selection of wines too, starting at £18 a bottle, and served in superior, solid wine glasses. (The prices, you hope, might deter the teens and the tourists).

Mahdis Neghabian, the manager of the Eye since 2006 and the winner of various pub awards, has made this place so much more than the hellish tourist bear pit it might be. She’s introduced poetry nights, life-drawing classes, DJs and now a Twitter campaign. #MyCamden is all about people posting pictures and thoughts of what Camden means to them. She’s also commissioned a short film, ‘The Alternative Guide to Camden’, presented by Marek Larwood, a TV funny man, about some of Camden’s better-known landmarks (so not that alternative).

The Camden Eye has all the hallmarks of decent local pub and is well worth dodging the traffic and tourists to get in to, particularly if you leave with advice on, um, How To Impress Ange. So if you’re bored of seasonal fare by now and desperate to try somewhere new, wander downtown.

This is box title
Kentishtowner Rating: 7/10 Camden Eye, 2 Kentish Town Road @camdeneye

Words: Georgia Grimond @flyingflute


  • Show Comments

  • Jim Davey

    I will never ever set foot in this pub again after being served the worst pint of my life a couple of years ago. I was then asked to leave after asking for it to be changed. Literally the worst service I have ever encountered anywhere.

  • cat

    This place is a surprisingly great pub considering its proximity to the tube. Although the downstairs appears crowded, the upstairs area has always had sofas free when I’ve been. I’m not sure if they still do them but life drawing classes were also hosted there. Must try the food next time!

  • Dave

    Morrissey would be pretty happy about using a typically non-vegetarian cheese on a pizza named after him.

  • Revrog

    There was a time when this Pub was called the Halfway House (surely more romantic and historic)….anyway it’s most didtinguished client in the 80s was the Historian, AJP Taylor…and their used to be a plaque/sign to commemorate his regular custom. The only food in those days ‘pies’ and sandwiches…..I am not sure that he would approve of Pizzas.

  • Madge

    Our Italian supplier confirms our mozzarella cheese is suitable for vegetarians. I think Morrossey would be pleased there is pizza named after him.

    On dodgy pint…

    You chaps in Kentish Town might want to get out more often!! A dodgy pint two years ago! Cot blimey…. Come in and I’ll give you two pints for free…

  • Pat K

    Thanks Madge – what a brilliant response!! Why would anyone go back to an establishment if they’ve been treated badly, regardless of when that was? There are too many nicer options in KT to even bother with tourist traps.

  • Chris

    Unfortunately we received farcical service here, so can’t recommend it. The pizza was actually good but the incompetent customer service was very worrying and I hope it doesn’t affect other customers in future.

    It started fine as the waiter mentioned (without prompting) that our pizzas would take thirty minutes. After waiting almost an hour, we asked him if it would be much longer. He told us to be patient and that he couldn’t do anything about it. Ten minutes later he said that pizzas are quick to cook once in the oven – I think this was intended to be reassuring. After another ten minutes and still no sign of pizza he then said there was nothing he could do about the situation so we shouldn’t ask. At this point we said it’s not your fault but can we please speak to a manager? His response was: “well do you want me to call her, she is pregnant and in bed”. We couldn’t get anything but rude responses out of him and when the pizzas finally appeared (90 minutes after ordering) he said “there you go, you can stop complaining now”. Eventually another staff member came and initially defended the waiter but eventually agreed on giving a suitable discount.

    It’s a real shame because the location is good.

    • Auzzuri

      Yes. Because you deserve a discount for being a whinging-tom.

      Great Pizzas!

      • Jack

        You must be the waiter.

        Location is good, didn’t go down to the pub so I can’t comment on that part. Pizza was ok, I’ve had better but I’ve also had worse. The waiter was the only negative on this place but wow, what a negative. Truly amazing how rude he was.

        The pizza’s took an hour and 30 minutes to arrive but we wouldn’t have minded if it weren’t for that waiter being so incredibly rude when we asked how much longer it was going to be. Even the waitress who came up to try and clean up his mess admitted to how bad he was and was extremely apologetic.

        oh well, was quite funny re-telling the story the next day.

      • Chris

        Haha. I know it’s probably a silly idea to have a waiter capable of human interaction.

  • Monkey

    Came here on NYE. It was a total shambles and almost scuppered our whole night. The place was super quiet, but our pizzas took 2 hours to arrive. To make matters (much) worse, the spoilt, foetal waiter clearly had a chip on his shoulder about working on such a holy night, while his friends were, presumably, swaggering around the lock tavern – unleashed on the laydeez. I’ve never been talked to so rudely in a restaurant. If you like some passive aggression with your passata, then go for you life!