All reader reviews by quentinhapsburg
I simply can't fault the quality and imagination of the food here. The menu is based on Fergus Henderson's 'nose-to-tail' cuisine, where not one ounce of dead animal is wasted. The resulting dishes are a study in simplicity and seasonality. This is not flashy cooking, rather a showcase of high quality ingredients and faultless execution. This is the sort of restaurant I can see myself returning to for years and years and years. BYO at £15 also a big bonus.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9
Went to 500 last week for my birthday in a large group of hard-to-please foodie types.It was with some trepidation that we picked our way through the pound shops and kebab stalls of Archway, but, after 4 courses, 4 bottles of wine and digestifs, we all left struggling to fault a superb restaurant which rightly boasts extremely high standards in all departments: food, service, ambience, VFM.
All dishes were cooked and presented with beautiful attention to detail and deliciously fresh ingredients. The menu was small but perfectly formed, with an emphasis on quality and imagination rather than quantity. The duck ravioli was particularly worthy of high praise.
The wine list was comprehensive, offering up a choice of authentic Italian bottles, categorised by region. I can highly recommend all three of the wines we sampled: Gutturnio Superiore 2006 (£22), DOCG Barolo 2005(£35) and a sublime Taurasi Piano di Montevergine 2001 (£60 - allowing myself a little birthday treat there!)
The fact that it was jam-packed on a damp Tuesday evening is testament to the quality of the place. I am so glad to have discovered such a gem of a local restaurant.
Cannot recommend this place highly enough. If there is a better mid-price Italian restaurant in London, then I have yet to see it.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10
Went for dinner last Saturday for a massive meat blowout.
I was a surprised to learn from the excellent Garufa service team that in Argentina, it is traditional for a succession of steaks to comprise an entire meal. No vegetables, no salad, just meat.
We ordered empanadas which were superb, followed by a meat platter with some salad and chips. The steaks were first class. It was interesting to try the different cuts side by side. Our fillet was a little overcooked and, after sincere and profuse apologies from all corners, was replaced within minutes with a perfectly cooked alternative.
A reasonably priced Argentine Malbec (£17) was robust and punchy enough to take on the job of accompanying this orgy of meat.
I woke up the next morning with the meat sweats but not for a minute did I regret my 'When In Rome' commitment to eating my entire bodyweight in fine Argentine steak.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
Went to St. John's last weekend and had a fabulous meal with a female companion.
Normally a Roast Beef 'n' Yorkshire pudding type of bloke, I was stunned when the improbable utterance 'I'll have the Seafood Paella' tumbled from my lips. However, so plump were the prawns and succulent the sea bass, that I knew I had made a good choice when it arrived in a dizzy-scented melee of fishy freshness.
My companion had the Lamb/Sweet Potato Puree which I was assured to be tender and delicious.
Snails and Pancetta in Garlic Butter was a balls-out, rustic triumph of a starter, whilst my companion's Mozzarella/Basil/Tomato was a study in simplicity, allowing the fine ingredients in this classic combo to speak for themselves.
Washed down with a lovely little 1999 Medoc, this was a splendid meal.
The bill came to £90 for two including starters, mains, cheese, a £28 bottle of Red and a couple of beers. Hardly cheap but certainly good value for the quality of ingredients and level of service.
St John's remains my favourite lazy Sunday lunch place in North London and is highly recommended.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8