It’s just been sold after 10 years to new owners. So what’s the food offering at the Junction Tavern like now?

Sole, lentils. Photo: Stephen Emms

Plaice with lentils and broccoli. Photo: Stephen Emms

Our story on the sale of the Junction to Camden Bars was surprisingly popular and underlined to us how many of you value this very long-standing gastropub straddled between the grit of K-Town and Tufnell Park’s leafier backstreets.

As we reported, the new owners are Camden Bars, whose decent string of boozers include The Abbey and Delancey Street’s Crown & Goose. And Ben McDonald, who has run both the latter pub and the Lord Stanley, just off Camden Square, is at the helm. “I’m about as local as a Kentish Town local could be,” he said to us the other week. “Born at Royal Free hospital, brought up in Bartholomew Rd and schooled at Torriano and Haverstock.”

The buzzy dining room. Photo: Stephen Emms

The buzzy dining room. Photo: Stephen Emms

We were keen to see if we could detect any differences, and stopped by the other evening. But the dining room is still lovely: yes, its burgundy blood red walls could be updated, but there’s no special need. Smoke sizzles from steaks being cooked in the open kitchen and all tables were full by 8pm, no mean feat on a typically freezing Wednesday evening.

But our chicken liver parfait disappointed; it could have been lifted by a little seasoning, and more depth of flavour, but at least a rich onion jam helped things along. More memorable was a beef carpaccio that melted in the mouth, its accompanying wild and chestnut mushrooms marinated with garlic, breadcrumbs, lemon and parsley.

A lack of seasoning again seemed to take the edge off a main of duck, served perfectly rare with crispy honey roast parsnips, port jus and Savoy cabbage; but a tangy fillet of plaice with lentils and broccoli made up for it, enlivened by that winning partnership, caper and anchovy. Wine is well-priced but limited (this is changing soon, we hear); nothing costs over £26. Our Malbec was £24.

The verdict? Solid and reliable, rather than outstanding, and it’s this that could – and we’re sure, will – now be turned up a notch. As for the crowd? “Well, Russell Crowe came in the other day,” announced lovely waitress Jessica towards the end of the meal. But she wouldn’t divulge what he ordered.

Find Junction Tavern on our Nearby Map.
[box] 101 Fortess Road. Kentishtowner Rating 7/10 Three course meal for two + wine and service around £70+ [/box]

Words: Stephen Emms

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2 Responses

  1. Martin

    Kentishtowner is always “swinging by” places – what a gay boulevardier swirling his cape in our midst! I agree that the Junction is still a fine gastropub, but the drinks prices are a bit on the high side for us sans-culottes.

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  2. Bill Corbett

    I’ve had some fantastic lunches there over the years, shame they have stopped opening during the day mid-week, but the food has been just as good under the new management. Perhaps your complaint about seasoning may be addressed by using the condiments provided? A sensible chef would hold back on the salt in these health conscious times.

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