Sunday Roast Review: The Woodbine

January 29, 2010

The Woodbine
Highbury Park
Chicken, Beef and Vegetarian.
From £9
Roasting: 6.8/10

The Woodbine is a little gem of a pub, an unassuming black and gold hideaway which is definitely the best looking pub on Blackstock road. If you don’t know the area, it gets a hell of a lot dodgier towards Finsbury Park. The owner/manager is a moody looking bloke that sits at the end of the bar and it always makes it seem like an effort to get up and serve you. This sunday however we got a moody looking irish girl, most likely his missus. At the right place, I love that ‘couldn’t-give-a-shit’ style of service. I think it’s great.

Theres a nice couch area under the windows at the front, if you’re lucky you can snag it, but every time I’ve been for a drink we end up standing. One downside – this is a small pub, and it does get very busy. The bar gives the illusion of being quite low, with a huge graffiti mural going from head height up to the ceiling, and running entire the length of the bar before wrapping round the end. Graffiti murals in pubs can look cheap and messy, but not this one. The deep reds of the paint blend into the dimly lit depths of the room perfectly. When smoking inside was still legal, the Woodbine had bricks full of strike anywhere matches on the bar, and if you look around you’ll start to notice other things, like the McDonalds sign in the unassuming banksy stylee painting on the wall and old firearm license rules on the wall. Its this quirkyness that makes me love the place.

Turns out on sundays the only chow available is the roast. Which works just fine with me as it has pretty much turned out as the best roast of 2010 thus far. There are only 3 options: beef, chicken or vegetarian. No desserts, much to Industry Boy’s disappointment. Renardo and I went for the beef, Industry Boy the chicken. On arrival the beef looked good, mouth-wateringly good. Massive thick slabs of well seasoned juicy red meat, stacked high on top of crispy cabbage, peas, and sweet baby carrots with crunchy golden potatoes topped off with an Aunt Bessie’s frozen yorkshire pud. An Aunt Bessies yorkshire bloody pudding. Either the kitchen had some kind of yorkshire meltdown, or they’re just plain lazy. I’d really like to think it was the former as I can’t understand why anyone would ruin such a good plate of food with such an awful yorkshire pud. It was terrible. We ate it anyway of course.

On the flip side, We all agreed that the beef was right up there with the best roast meat we’d had at pub. Perfectly medium rare to rare, prefectly seasoned and the perfect amount of fat. It honestly couldn’t of been done any better. It was meat of the gods, the kind of deliciously perfect meat that would make a vegan sizzle and pop like Bill Compton in the midday sun. Possibly a little too bloody for some, but for me it was absolutely spot on. And a very generous serving too. The rest of the veg was your standard fare, good carrots and the potatoes were nice and crispy although 3 small ones weren’t enough, we all could of easily eaten 3 more. Fried shredded cabbage was a nice touch and peas were as annoying as ever to get in your mouth. Gravy was nice, although we had to ask for more. But the meat, oh the delectable meat. I could of just had a plate of meat and gravy. The chicken was, well, chicken. Decent half chicken sized serving, and surprisingly moist, but unfortunately nothing on the beef.

On the whole, it was a great plate of food. Veg was par for the course but the beef was amazing. I would say it was almost definitely from Frank Godfrey, easily the best butcher in north London. A massive hats off to the chef at the Woodbine, as he or she clearly knows how to cook meat to perfection. I would love to see what they could do with a shoulder of pork. If they spent some time developing the veggies to be on the same level as the beef, and swapped out the yorkshire pud for a proper homemade one, you would have a very hard time keeping me away. And at the reasonable price of a tenner, I’ll definitely be back for seconds.

Meat ★★★★★★★★★★ (10)
Potatoes ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Veg ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Yorkshire ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (1)
Gravy ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Serving Size ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Menu Variety ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Service ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Value for money ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)

Total Roasting: (6.8/10)

Woodbine on Urbanspoon


4 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The Woodbine”

  1. Gords Says:

    well, it seems my favorite sunday roast no longer flies beneath the radar. Suppose it was only a matter of time. They do a great quiz night as well…

  2. […] N The Old Queens Head, The Northgate, The North Star, The Driver, Wenlock and Essex, The Winchester, The Island Queen, Bacchus, The Marquess Tavern, The Alwyn Castle, The Crown, The Old White Lion, The Fellow, The Scolts Head, The Prince, The Mucky Pup, The Charles Lamb, The Albion, The Alwyne, The Angelic, The Drapers Arms, The Red Lion and Sun, Public House, The Duke of Cambridge, The Green, The Keston Lodge, The Woodbine […]

  3. Aaron Says:

    I ate here today (15th Jan 2012) and it was a huge let down. The most average Sunday Roast in a pub for as long as I can remember. Beef was pre sliced mass produced crap, potatoes cooked in oil that was not fat enough, carrots undercooked, gravy tasteless. The only nice thing was the cauliflower.

    I don’t recommend this roast at all. 3/10 at best. Only gets marks because the pub decor is great, it’s cheap (£9.95) and the single floret or cauliflower I got was cooked to perfection.

  4. Jasmine Darby Says:

    It’s obviously gone really down hill because the roast I had (5 Feb 2012) looked like a school dinner and tasted of NOTHING. So disappointed…

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