Everyone in London knows that there is an area of this fine city that really feels like home to them. I have friends who believe they belong in the south, and some who would never dream or leaving east. A small handful don’t mind suffering the District line just because they love West London so much, but for me, nowhere really compares to North London. Above Camden Town the world becomes such a pretty place. The Heath, the houses, the cafes and best of all, the pubs… and The Lord Palmerston in Tufnell Park is the epitome of an excellent North London pub.
Venue and Atmosphere
As much as I love this city, as a countryside gal born and bred, the one thing that makes me sad is the lack of real fireplaces for snuggling up next to in London. The Lord Palmerston not only had a proper roaring fire crackling away on my arrival, but it also has a collection of snugly armchairs positioned around it ready for you to settle into and not move for a considerable amount of time.
The décor is homely but chic, well lit yet cosy. Dining tables are dotted around the edge of the pub and the main bar, and continue down to the fireplace at the end of the room, where those comfy chairs can be found. On the evening of our visit, it was Pub Quiz night - excellent news as I am a font of the sort of knowledge that only comes up on such an occasion. I smashed out a few solid answers, excelling in the history round and being extremely smug when a Taylor Swift question came up, while my fella was on hand to provide the answers to the sport questions… which he got wrong.
Food & Drink
As the quiz played out, we enjoyed a supper of great seasonal pub food. I started with a small Caesar salad (£8) topped with crispy fried chicken, which was juicy and gently crunchy. My teammate meanwhile opted for a dish of poached rainbow trout (£8.50) on a bed of quinoa, with beetroot and avocado, and a mild hint of mustard. He raved about its juiciness and flakiness between questioning my (correct) quiz answers.
Our mains arrived around the half way point of the quiz, meaning we had time to really focus on our food rather than trying to remember how many points a blue ball is worth in snooker. He had the Palmerston Beef Burger (£13.50) with cheese, ale onions, iceberg, cream bun, pickles and fries, a hearty meal that you definitely won't go away hungry from. I chose a meaty dish too with the Pork Belly (£14.50), which arrived tender and succulent, with a crispy, juicy, fatty coat and a heap of smooth, creamy mash and a gorgeously sweet, pickled red cabbage. We washed all of this down with a bottle of crisp Chardonnay recommended by the manager.
We might not have won the quiz (though we did receive a special commendation for my handwriting, no big deal) but when a pub like The Lord Palmerston is this friendly, homely, allows dogs (of which there were plenty) and has a great seasonal menu, the taking part counts for so much more.