London Gastropub Review – The Charles Lamb In Islington

by timchester

Sundays bloody Sundays – they’re pretty good aren’t they? And there’s nothing I like more on a Sunday, after a 60-hour week of London living replete with difficult colleagues, mean passersby, hookers shrieking outside my window at 4am and the prospect of a commute strangled by RMT head honcho and all-round pain in the patootie Bob Crow’s first 24-hour walkout, than a good roast. (We’re talking sliced meat and all the trimmings here, not the Jenna Jameson or celebrity roast varieties, although I might suggest to my friends we try that in the pub one day [the latter, that is]).

And I like them most of all in places that make me feel like I’m out of London (the Spaniards, the Flask, at a push the Bull & Last), which is why the Charles Lamb was such a treat to stumble upon.
Charles Lamb Menu

Nestled out the way like all the good ones are, it marries rustic and urban in a match made in Devon. Tree stumps act as doorstops, maps hang from the walls, and Thatchers is served proudly at room temperature. Dogs outnumber people and furniture’s as higgledy-piggledy as they come. Creative-looking men in neckerchiefs sit next to their furry best friends as The xx album plays softly in the background. Honey Dew is on draft and Breton cider bottles huddle invitingly in the fridge. It looks like how I imagine my home will in ten years time, full of people I think I might look like in ten years, and I love it. There’s a table full of locals entrenched for the day next to us talking loudly about hostile nuclear nations with all the self-assurance and complete lack of insight of RMT head honcho and all-round moron Bob Crow, but somehow that just adds to the atmosphere.

So far so good, but we’re still on surface detail. Time for a roasting. Unfortunately, the only bird left in this joint is the duck – everything else has been wiped clear off the board by 4pm (which, if you like to eat lunch late in the day, is a habitual occurrence). It turns out, though, that the absence of choice really does make you happier. This was one of the best weekend platefuls I’ve had in an age. The confit of duck tumbled off the bone as moist as a sponge on the inside but tooth-tinglingly crunchy on the outside, like its crispy Peking cousin if the latter was made with love instead of drunk diallers in mind. Greens harboured bacon nuggets fattier than RMT head honcho and all-round unwanted annoyance Bob Crow while boiled oranges and yellows were firm and chunky. Buttery Yorkies were neat doughy inkwells full of gravy I wish (as ever) had been put in a separate jug. I don’t know whose idea it was to insist London roasts are always served swimming in gravy but I’d put some Oyster credit on it being something to do with RMT head honcho and all-round bell-end Bob Crow.

I don’t know why Bob Crow’s made so many appearances in today’s blog (it’s probably something to do with him being a complete cock), but if his actions this week have caused you to grouse, go and try the Charles Lamb’s duck this weekend.

Price per head: £18, including lots of cider and free crusty bread
Soundtrack: Mercury nominated acts doing their thing quietly
Clientele: People who look like they’re on vacation from Babbacombe

Charles Lamb on Urbanspoon

{ 2 trackbacks }

London Sunday Lunch Index – What’s Your Favourite Gastropub / Weekend Boozer In The Capital?
September 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm
The Best, Worst And Weirdest London Restaurants Of 2010
April 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Walker February 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

When did you go? We went to the Charles Lamb a month ago (early Jan 2012) and it was *terrible*. Certainly the worst we’ve been to (and we’ve roughly matching your list in terms of venues and ratings).

I like my beef rare, but this was a bit TOO rare even for me – and it was sinewey and stringy and had hard bits and just hard to cut to boot. The roast potatoes seemed like they had been done in olive oil, no real fat, and the vege was medicore.

And to top it all off, the yorkshires were blatantly Auntie Bessie’s.

No free bread either, crusty or not, so maybe new management?

All in all, every item in the dish (yeah… weird) was low quality, and small portions too. Left thoroughly unsatisfied.

My vote would be to steer clear and wander west of Angel rather than east and find The Albion (and swing past Public House for a cocktail afterwards…)


timchester February 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Interesting. It was about a year ago, but they’ve not changed hands as far as I know. I know I’m not alone in liking the place – maybe it’s just slipped recently.


Daniel Walker February 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

Yup, it was recommended to us by a friend of a friend, and defended as having previously been awesome by another friend after-the-fact!


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