British, Modern Restaurants in Islington
1. 12:51 by chef James Cochran British, Modern restaurant in Islington 107 Upper Street - N1
“When the food is good it can be amazing” at former Ledbury chef James Cochran’s Islington venue, which fans say “deserves to be better known” for his “fantastic tasting menu at sensible prices” (including “interesting” ingredients such as mutton and goat that reference the chef’s part-Caribbean heritage). Even some fans can acknowledge one or two “samey” results, though, and grades slipped a fraction this year due a few disappointments. Perhaps any unevenness is due to distraction from other projects: in June 2022 he opened Valderrama’s – a 90s-themed sports bar a short walk along Upper Street featuring the buttermilk fried chicken he developed for his Around The Cluck lockdown project.
2. Humble Grape British, Modern restaurant in Islington 11-13 Theberton Street - N1
“The whole package – great food, staff and incredible wines” – wins hymns of praise for James Dawson’s wine shop/club/bar/kitchen combination that now has five branches across central London. The focus is on sustainable, small-scale independent producers, with many wines available by the glass.
3. Megan's at the Sorting Office British, Modern restaurant in Islington 6 Esther Anne Place - N1
With its inviting décor, this fast-expanding group has been a big “winner” since the pandemic, mushrooming to 18 sites, all of which have generally proved useful additions to their respective areas. But while “it certainly looks the part, and the staff look after you well enough”, the brunch-friendly fare can be hit ’n’ miss, with reports ranging from “surprisingly good” to “formulaic and really abysmal”. Top Tip – “always a top option for feeding the family”.
4. Pig & Butcher British, Modern restaurant in Islington 80 Liverpool Road - N1
This “pretty decent gastropub” – “the best in Islington” by some reckoning – butchers its own meat for the table. Everyone agrees that the food is “high quality” – “even the snacks are great!” – but “it’s a busy place and the service is a little chaotic”.
5. Frederick’s British, Modern restaurant in Islington 106 Camden Passage - N1
The “cooking is as reliable as ever” at this calm and sprawling Islington institution – a fixture among the antiques shops of Camden Passage for more than half a century. Its modern European cuisine is “nothing wildly exciting, but assured and confident” and backed up by an “excellent wine list”. Staff are “especially good to regulars” (“it’s so nice to be recognised, welcomed and made to feel special”). And “when sitting in the quiet and civilised garden in the sunshine, it’s hard to believe you’re only moments from the fray of Upper Street”.
6. The Drapers Arms British, Modern restaurant in Barnsbury 44 Barnsbury Street - N1
This incredibly popular, early Victorian Islington boozer has been transformed into “the perfect city gastropub” by licensee Nick Gibson. The “well-cooked hearty food, great service and excellent wine list” ensure that it’s typically rammed.
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