It's a sad state of affairs, but these days, I rarely step foot in a pub. And on the occasions I do, I almost never order food from them. It's a bad mentality I've slipped into, as I spend evenings either in bars or street food markets (Hawker House am I right?!), foregoing the casual atmosphere of the local for a chance to try somewhere brand new or "trendy".
I'll be the first to admit that its a stupid mindset to have, so when I was asked to come and sample a gastropub in nearby Crouch End (near to me at least), I jumped at the chance.
Crouch End itself isn't exactly struggling for pubs - but The Maynard Arms was impressive for a number of reasons. Firstly, its expansive interior was warm, welcoming and cosy from the moment I walked in the door. Seats aplenty for both casual drinking, and a more formal dining area with benches and long tables that are easily moved to accommodate larger groups.
And the food? Oh...the food! Even before the starters came out, we had fresh bread served up with whipped butter and paprika to get us going. Then, formally kicking things off were plates of rabbit ballotine with charred pineapple, crispy fried squid with chilli lime dressing.
Mains followed next with a heaven sent piece of ribeye perfectly cooked medium rare, on potato dauphinoise and herb crusted bone marrow.
Yeah - these guys aren't taking any prisoners on their path to serving up damn fine food. Dishes were well cooked, seasoned and had a fresh flavour that demonstrated some skilled cooking and attention to detail. Other dishes include: pan fried chicken which was tender and juicy, with crisped up skin on one side for a satisfyingly good crunch; and an avocado and seaweed salad that was full of umami and health.
And the final call? Desserts in the form of a chocolate fondant with raspberry sorbet, and a banana sticky toffee pudding with a huge jug of sauce to drown your sorrows in. Though, why you'd be sad by the end of a meal here is beyond me!
All in all, a hugely enjoyable meal in great surroundings, and a pub that I would genuinely be happy to come back to again. While the mains were good, my highlights were in the starters and desserts - probably not the 2 courses you're thinking of but well worth considering!
Starters - £8
Mains - £14
Desserts - £7
The Maynard Arms
70 Park Road