Karl Chads writes… Highgate Village has long been the epitome of elegance and sophistication in north London’s cultural scene, so when I visited The Angel Inn on a cool spring evening I was pleasantly surprised to see this 40-cover inn was sparsely populated with diners. An idyllic location, a choice of tables, pleasant clientele; what could go wrong?
Not much, in fairness. This hilltop village inn’s quaint exterior welcomes you with a timeless grandeur, and the menu features classic British and modern European fare, front and centre.
The starters take in an enormous and very appealing sharing platter of rosemary and garlic Camembert baked in sourdough and served with celery, the Spanish padron peppers (just the peppers themselves, no filling, no dressing, strangely spartan), and the handmade Scotch egg with brown sauce which the adjoining table assured me was excellent.
Main courses are what bring diners to The Angel Inn from miles around, and that is where this establishment excels, in delivering all the classics you would expect; roasted half chicken in lemon and garlic marinade with rosemary fries, rib-eye steak with triple-cooked chips, fish and chips.
Non-carnivores are catered for with the obligatory mushroom risotto and a beautiful-looking aubergine and harissa burger, the latter of which I did not try (for allergy reasons).
The drinks list is a well-coordinated blend of contemporary coffees, fine teas and the beers and wines you would expect in such a location. No pitchers of garishly-coloured cocktails, no sir.
I sampled the El Bar Malbec (Argentina) which nicely cut through my chewy salted squid starter. The coffee, prepared at the machine in front of the bar, was good quality, and cold soft drinks are served with no up-sell.
Service was as attentive and switched-on as can be, but the incongruous mix of the only server in the house wearing headphones throughout the whole service, and the Ibiza clubland soundtrack, makes The Angel Inn, well… a curate’s egg of an establishment.
Still a safe bet for a quiet and civilised meal, The Angel Inn is an acquired taste.
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