Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Tufnell Park Tavern is a recently opened gastropub in my hood, occupying a huge building which has variously been a slightly dodgy late-opening bar and a jazz bar. It has been empty for a couple of years but excitement rumbled around the hood as renovations took place and signs went up proclaiming the soon-to-open Tufnell Park Tavern, under the same management as The Lansdowne.
We decided to try it out for my birthday meal. Unfortunately, birthday girl was to leave disappointed. The service was slow, which could be forgiven as it was only the first week of opening. But my food was terrible. And that is never forgivable. I had fresh garlic soup with a poached egg, but the soup was curiously flavourless considering its proclaimed garlic content and, even worse, it tasted of stale tap water. My main course was grilled halloumi skewers with green wheat and a marjoram dressing. First of all, I got three measly squares of halloumi. But worse, it was skewered with red onion which was basically raw. And the abundant bed of green wheat upon which the disappointing skewers were laid was unseasoned and with no dressing that I could discern. Which meant that for £9.50, I was eating raw onion, plain wheat and three bites of halloumi. Unimpressed.
Cheesecake dessert was OK, but how can cheesecake ever be wrong? James thought his food was passable, but he ordered steak which he 'only orders if there's nothing else on the menu he wants.'
At £75 for two, with a couple of drinks each, we felt pretty ripped off. Tufnell Park is prime gastropub territory, with a high percentage of local yummy families and yuppies who will be the bread and butter trade for this pub. When we visited it had only been open a week and you could tell it was people's first visit. The sound of people calculating the benefit to their house price with the presence of a smart pub like the Tufnell Park Tavern was practically audible.
I wonder whether they will see returning custom, though. The prices are steep for a neighbourhood joint and the food I had was definitely not worth the price tag. I have heard that the pizzas offered in the bar are wonderful, and I will probably go back and try those. And the deli and coffee bar looks relaxed and inviting, for weekend treats. But overall: fail.
[Pictures borrowed with thanks to everyday lifestyle.]