York & Albany
REVIEW February 3, 2009
Overall Value
2
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
2
£57
  • Food
  • Service
  • Ambience
York & Albany, 127-129 Parkway, London, NW1 7PS

On the Regent’s Park fringe of Camden Town, Gordon Ramsay’s glamorous conversion of a palatial boozer; food and service are good (rather than anything more), but the overall experience is highly suited to a celebration or romance.

Many people have been a bit mystified by this Gordon Ramsay group restaurant, bar and small hotel, in a converted pub on the outmost fringe of Camden Town. What’s it for? Why would anyone want to go/stay there?

These are fair questions. Particularly on foot, it’s not obviously on the route to or from anywhere, and – even if much of the West End is within a 20-minute walk – one can think of more obvious places to stay.

The key to it all, of course, is celebrity, which could in theory kick-start the virtuous circle – crowds-buzz-more crowds – to make the place a self-sustaining ‘destination’. The trick, of course, is to make it good enough to be more than a five-minute wonder.

The early signs, we’d suggest. are that its standards are good enough. Indeed, in at least one respect, they are more than that – this is a beautiful building, and it has been handsomely converted to create a very attractive ground-floor dining room (plus less interesting basement), and an unusually seductive bar area – a combination ideal for a celebration or for romance.

The food and service play rather a supporting rôle. That’s not a particular criticism – history suggests that it is a major challenge for spin-off celeb-chef-branded establishment even to achieve and maintain good/average standards, and that challenge is achieved impressively consistently here.

Admittedly, if you believed the Ramsay hype, and went expecting something special on the food front, you might be disappointed – go in a party or romantic mood, though, and you’ll probably have a very good time here.

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