Eat Here: The Old Queen’s Head, AngelBy Cass Horowitz
There’s no shortage of decent roasts in and around Angel, so when we were invited to try what was deemed ‘the perfect Sunday roast’ at The Old Queen’s Head, we were intrigued to see whether the bark matched the bite.
The Old Queen’s Head: The Venue
The Old Queen’s Head is a bit of an institution already. There’s actually been a pub here since 1830 (or so the internet tells us), and the interior is a fun mixture of traditional old school decor and arresting, unusual art. They’re pretty proud of their Bloody Marys, and so they should be.
These were big cold glasses of refreshing tomato/Tabasco pick me up. We tried both the gin and vodka varieties and they both slipped down a treat – thanks to what felt like genuine tomato juice complete with bits, olives and a nice chunky stick of celery.
The Old Queen’s Head: The Food
Being honest though, that’s not what we’re here for. In the end, it comes down to one thing and one thing only: the roast. The difference between a good roast and a not-so-good-one can often come down to just a few gravy drenched details. We’re please to report that the Old Queen’s Head made no mistakes when it came to this Sunday favourite.
Firstly, and perhaps, most importantly (unless you’re a vegetarian) is the meat. We went for the leg of lamb with peas and mint sauce. The lamb was perfectly cooked medium/rare, and the portion was generous (no starters needed here). Another excellent shout is the 32 day aged longhorn beef with marrow gravy. The beef was juicy, tender and was cut nice and thick. Our only complaint was that the beef could’ve been slightly on the hotter side, but that didn’t detract too much from what was clearly quality meat.
For us, the next most important element is the Yorkshire puddings, and there wasn’t an Auntie Bessie in sight. Large homemade Yorkshires were perfect for soaking up the gravy, which itself was rich and delicious. Roast compartmentalisers won’t be happy with the rustic presentation but for us, that’s just how it should be; no pretensions, just a big plate of great ingredients. The only thing we would’ve liked was a bit more of a collective attitude towards the peas. Their scattered nature meant it was hard to get a proper mouthful (think the picture above illustrates that best).
Ultimately, this was a great roast and it’s really helped by the pub itself. It has the perfect Sunday atmosphere which lends itself to a nice long lunch. The service is excellent and very personal, and the price is reasonable. There may be plenty of places to choose from around this part of Islington but we’ll certainly be returning to The Old Queen’s Head in no time at all.