The dining room has a very high ceiling, looking out on to a garden at the back. There is a wooden floor and a mix of conventional wooden chairs and leather banquettes. The menu is a mix of modern British and Spanish, getting more Spanish recently. The wine list is modestly priced, with the most expensive white wine being £30 (there is now a solitary wine above £60). A Rioja Bodegas Urbina was only around twice retail price at £27 (since replaced on the list by another Tempranillo). At a March 2013 meal seafood paella was nicely made, served in an iron skillet, the rice having good texture and served with mussels, prawns and clams (13/20). Fish and chips had good batter, the fish cooked properly, though chips could have been crisper (12/20). Tortilla was pleasant, served with salad and a garlic mayonaisse (12/20). Service was friendly if a little stretched at times. For £27 a head with modest wine this seemed a very reasonable price to me. Similarly a two course dinner in November 2013 cost jsut £23 a head.
Brief notes from a January 2012 meal follow.
Ham croquettas with salad were competent, with a suitably rich filling and crisp exterior (12/20). A game pie was very good indeed, made from scratch in the pub, with decent pastry and a rich filling including venison and wild boar (14/20). On the side, chips were mediocre, double-cooked and not crisp (barely 11/20). As ever, the home-made bread here is genuinely good, with good texture and a nice crust (15/20). This puts the lie to the notion that it is impractical for a restaurant to make their own bread: the kitchen here is tiny but they make bread every day. We had a lot of wine, but the bill for the food was well under £20 a head; a bargain.
Notes from a 2011 meal follow.
Celeriac and parsnip soup was a rustic broth which was not liquidised, leaving distinct pieces of the vegetables, but there was plenty of celeriac taste, and the parsnip added a little sweetness (12/20). Prawn cocktail was also well made, with large prawns and a Marie Rose sauce (12/20). Fabada is a Spanish bean stew from Asturias; this was made from slow-cooked pork, chorizo and tender butter beans, was well seasoned and was a hearty winter dish (12/20). Salt cod croquettes had good taste and the batter was crisp (12/20). Bread, as ever here, is a treat, both brown and white loaves being made from scratch each day (15/20). Service was a little slow but friendly.
Here are brief notes from a meal in September 2008.
A salad of fennel, celeriac, tomatoes and capers was reasonable, with decent ingredients and a light dressing (11/20). Mackerel was fresh and nicely cooked, served on a bed of salad leaves with a pleasantly spicy Romesco sauce spooned over the mackerel (12/20). Fish and chips (£9) had a light batter that seemed to me to be a beer batter, while the fish itself was made with coley. Chips were chunky and could have been a little crisper, while mushy peas had good texture, the peas still having some texture remaining (12/20). Apple and apricot crumble was very pleasant, served with real and correctly made custard (12/20). Superb bread is made twice daily (loaves of plain white and brown, with excellent taste and texture) (15/20). The place was packed this evening, with a few tables even being turned. The head chef here was previously at the gastropub St Johns in Archway. Service was very pleasant throughout, and dishes arrived at a sensible pace. Overall a very enjoyable experience, with the bread in particular a nice touch.