Review: Lord Stanley, Camden Park Road

In its leafy location just near Camden Square, this longstanding boozer serves up good food in a simple, unfussy way. Long may it thrive

Duck rillettes and pickled grapes at The Lord Stanley
Duck rillettes and pickled grapes at The Lord Stanley. Photos: Sarah Fox
Sister pub to the nearby (and much newer) Tufnell Park Tavern, the Lord Stanley sits tiled and handsome on the corner of Camden Park Road. Older readers might remember its roots in Caribbean cooking back in the late ’90s; and while gastronomically much has changed, Jay, the relaxed manager, still mooches about behind the bar and, when we popped by for lunch last week, was trying to get to grips with a day-old wine list.

The Stanley - tables and chairs wearing the dents and scratched of use
Old school: elegant panelled interior

The interior? Grand in size but, save for a lacquered bottle green ceiling, comfortingly worn, its robust wooden furniture bearing the dents and scratches of years of use.

It was a warm day, and the October sun provoked the idea of a last-gasp Provence; but instead we clinked on a Portuguese Azulejo: fruity with a touch of sparkle, at 9%, it was appropriately light for a midweek lunchtime glass.

On the panelled far wall, a chalked-up menu is sophisticated, allowing the well-paired ingredients to impress (we’ve raved about the place before).

We started with duck rillettes and brioche-like toast: perfectly creamy, with zesty dressed rocket leaves and sweet pickled grapes – but just a degree or two chilly. Meanwhile, a thick fish soup was rich and warming, a sunny hit of Marseille in NW1.

Simple fare, no fuss.
Simple fare, no fuss.

We shared a couple of mains. A beautifully cooked piece of grey mullet, soft on the inside with crispy skin, straddled roast fennel, capers and stalky cavolo nero. A mature combination, and punchy blend of aniseed and earthiness, it was on the tipping point of being too salty – perhaps the capers were to blame? Still, its flavours were lifted by the crisp white.

Roast chicory and parsnip mash
Roast chicory and parsnip mash

Next up? Our favourite dish of the lunch: seasoned creamy parsnip mash, laced with the sweetness of caramelised roast chicory, and accentuated by a dash of honey, crumbled walnuts and chilli. This really was delicious, hearty vegetarian fare.

We skipped dessert and plumped for a rich double espresso, pondering why there has always been something very likeable about this boozer. No hype or bravado, just reliably interesting homely food to return for.

And even better, no flouncy front of house staff either, just genuine Jay and smiley chef Matthew. It’s the kind of joint that makes you want to sit around all afternoon with the paper – and another glass of Portuguese.

This is box title
Kentishtowner Rating 7.5/10. Lord Stanley, 51 Camden Park Rd, London NW1 9BH. A meal for two and a bottle of wine £45.


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  • MrsM.

    Love the Stanley & love Jay, I have been going to the Stanley for years and seen it go through many stages and changes, both good and bad. The food had an on and off moment a couple of years ago, but Adam was a fantastic manager, very personable, attention to detail was absolutely key and in testament the Stanley was always packed. However over recent months a few fellow Stanley veterans and I have been boycotting the place. Yes, I’ve had some great meals recently, I kept going back to give it another chance, I really wanted the place to still be my faithful local, but the staff actually aren’t that great. Surly, sloppy and no customer service…and running a fab local boozer is most definitely a service industry. Have I missed something? Where is the nice warm welcome this fantastic old boozer used to have? Needless to say, a little bit of a disgruntled Kentish Town resident. Just a little constructive criticism, which we all need now and again. Come on Lord Stanley, please sort it out again, me and my fellow residents loved you.

  • Joe C

    I’ve had decent food here in the past year, but have to say the last time I went recently and had a Sunday roast there the food was very poor – the beef was tough and over-cooked, and the Yorkshire pudding was quite biscuit-like. This was a shame, as I think it’s a good pub that has done good food. I’ll be giving it another go during the week, but given the excellent Sunday lunch options elsewhere in the local area I probably won’t be heading back to the Stanley on a Sunday any time soon.

  • Steve

    I’ve always found both the food & the service lacking at the Stanley. It’s that “we’re-so-trendy-and-scruffy-that-we-don’t-care” attitude. Last time I went for Sunday lunch it was inedible. To be fair, when we complained, they didn’t charge us for the food (uneaten) or the wine (2 glasses). It’s the sort of pub I’ve always really wanted to like, but it’s been so bad for so long that I’ve given up trying. If you want reasonable food & service nearby, try the Colonel Fawcett.

  • Jenny

    I agree about the staff being “too trendy and scruffy to care”, the girls usually walk around in a bit of a daze. However the food can be great, when they had the guinea fowl on the menu and trial different sorts of foodlike rhthat. Still really need a vegetarian roast option for Sundays though!! All in all a lovely pub.