Lunch on a sunny Angel roof terrace – what could possibly go wrong?
The Castle, N1
Whilst previously on a search for food in the Angel area, The Castle on Pentonville Road had cropped up as a potential option, boasting good online reviews and decent looking menu. Although on that occasion we ended up in the excellent Regent, the name stuck, and we decided to head there for some bank holiday eating, drinking and holiday planning. With the weather looking good, we booked a table on the roof terrace around lunchtime.
First impressions were good, with a small but pleasant terrace to catch the sun and easy access to an upstairs bar. The drink selection was fairly standard, with a few lagers and ciders on tap and a few more bottles in the fridge (although there may have been a bigger selection at the main bar downstairs). After a drink or two, it was time to order some food, and it was then that things started to go downhill…..
After trying to order one of the specials and being told that they were for a different day, I opted for the beer-battered haddock and chips with mushy peas (£11.00). Mark and Zoe both went for Angus beef burgers (£10.75), whilst Gary and Antonia chose to share the crispy fried whitebait (£5.95) and tortilla platter (£6.95), with their first choice the Butcher’s platter (£15.95) unfortunately not available.
My haddock tasted fine, but was disappointingly small, especially given the whale-sized fish portions you often seem to get in pubs. The batter was quite oily, and the potato wedges quite greasy and limp. The small portion was particularly noticeable given that my food arrived a good twenty minutes before anyone else’s meaning I had finished before anyone else started.
Mark and Zoe both thought their burgers were mediocre, particularly compared to those offered by other places such as the Ranelagh. The whitebait itself was also adequate but quite a thick batter coating and somewhat bizarrely did not come with any dip. The tortilla platter was essentially a plate of oily, fried nachos, with side pots of bland guacamole, sour cream and “salsa”, which was more reminiscent of the runny red liquid you sometimes find at the top of a ketchup bottle then any salsa we have ever had. When asked if they had any other salsa, the barman simply brought another pot of tartare sauce.
Needless to say, no one bothered with dessert. Luckily the delicious Thai I had in Firefly in Balham that evening went a long way towards redeeming the bank holiday for me!
Overall, we were all very disappointed with the food, which was a real shame given the pleasant setting and balmy weather. The drink selection was fairly limited (at least upstairs), and the staff somewhat brusque, although in their defence clearly rushed off their feet. Whilst it’s not uncommon for places to struggle on bank holiday with limited staff, there are many other places (in Angel let alone further afield) that do simple pub food a whole lot better.
54 Pentonville Road,
London N1 9HF