A village pub with a garden, moments from Upper Street
The Albion is just off Upper Street, yet on your way there you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the country and this is the only pub in the village. It boasts a walled garden within the Barnsbury conservation area and won The Observer Food Monthly award for “Best Sunday Lunch 2009” is one of The Independent’s “Top 50 Sunday Lunch Venues” and The Guardian’s “Best Pubs in the UK”.
It was Zoe‘s birthday and she’s kindly booked a pub near me rather than out in sticks (where she lives). I arrived a bit late to find the others on a nice long table near the entrance and bar to find out the kitchen was closing in a few minutes for two hours! This is the case most days by the way so make sure you check. After a quick survey it turned out most of the girls had ordered the Faggots with mash and onion gravy (£14.50), which was pretty surprising seeing as they had no idea what they were! I followed suit. A few others had The Albion Cheeseburger with triple cooked chips (£12.50) and Antonia had the Tamworth Pork Chop with mash & apple sauce (£14.50).
You don’t see faggots on many pub menus so it was a welcome surprise. They were plenty tasty but I thought the portion was on the small size considering the price tag – after all it’s made with off-cuts and offal. It barely touched the sides and I would have ordered another dish had the kitchen still been open. The burger was decent by all accounts, especially the triple cooked chips but again was pricey at £12.50 and Antonia wasn’t a fan of her pork chop – it was a generous size to say the least but she thought it was too simple and needed more flavour.
As is tradition when Zoe’s around, we ordered a couple of cheeseboards with chutney & biscuits (£8 each). Generous amount of cheese but the grapes were tiny and seeded, which just became annoying and the chutney was just weird. Something to do with sultanas.
I expected more from The Albion. The pub itself is really nice, so I’d happily drink away the hours here but I found the food mediocre at best and on the steep side (not a good combination). The Albion won The Observer Food Monthly award for “Best Sunday Lunch 2009” but it’s not 2009 anymore and there’s only so long you can ride on that success.