I hopped off the tube at Islington & Highbury, into the drizzle and made my way to a lovely pub, The Drapers Arms, about a fifteen minute walk. Open, airy and pleasant, the pub itself was a delight with high ceilings, diligent waitstaff and lots of natural light (even in November).
The birthday I was there to celebrate had a table in the corner, so I took my seat to await the other guests and sipped quantities of the iced water already on the table to bring my temperature down (unseasonably warm outside!)
With a long menu, initially it looked like there were many dishes to choose from, but if you have a restricted diet you may have a hard time of it. There was just the one vegetarian dish out of maybe ten main courses?
So, without further ado I ordered the Baked salsify with Tunworth, breadcrumbs and watercress. That is indeed the entire component of the dish – a large dish, one baked root with meltingly good cheese over the top, sides and possibly lining the dish too. Add breadcrumbs on top to give a golden colour and a handful of watercress leaves by the side, no more, no less. It could have done with less reliance on the rich flavour of the cheese, which becomes monotonous after a few bites, and more of the vegetable. It was almost as if, in order to charge £12.50 for the meal, the chef felt obliged to use at least six pounds worth of cheese. I would have preferred a hash of salsify, parsnip, sweet potato, butternut squash and onion, with a thin layer of golden, bubbly cheese and breadcrumbs on top and a more interesting salad with a sharp vinegary dressing.
For dessert, a Gingerbread pudding, whipped cream and oats intrigued me and was delicious. A very small portion, but just as a gingerbread pudding ought to be, with pouring cream rather than whipped and puffy, crisp oat clusters adding an alternate texture to the top.
The house rose was fine, dry and the cava was very much enjoyed by the party. Golden ale was on tap and the wait staff were happy to bring out water.
For what was on offer, the vegetarian food was priced to match the rather more adventurous carnivorous dishes.