With a visit from the grandparents (read ‘willing babysitters’) approaching, I found myself searching for a conveniently located ‘date night’ venue. Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany caught my eye. Conveniently located a short drive from home, on the Northern line for GastroDad’s dash from the City and with a Mediterranean menu, it seemed perfect for a summery evening. York and Albany was originally an Angela Hartnett venture with Colin Buchan now at the reins.
The initial impression at York and Albany is of a smart, rather chichi pub. Hiding behind the bar is a beautifully light and airy dining room, with one wall made entirely of glass. The atmosphere was buzzy, the décor modern and tasteful, and the clientele made up of North London’s young professionals.
To start I ordered the salmon, avocado, chilli, lime and coriander, whilst GastroDad opted for the orzo, green bean, pomegranate, mint and pumpkins seed salad. The latter was fresh and perfectly pleasant, but was met with a frown from GastroDad, who described it as ‘basically a pasta salad’ (GD hadn’t realised that orzo was pasta when he ordered it!) . My salmon was somewhat marred by the unlikely addition of grapefruit on top of the salmon, which contributed an unwelcome mushy texture and overwhelmed the more delicate flavours of salmon and avocado.
My evening picked up considerably when the tagliatelle of crab, chilli and lemon grass arrived. The chilli offered just the right amount of heat, not overpowering the crab, whilst the lemongrass lent a lovely tang. The pasta was beautifully cooked with a strong texture offering plenty of bite.
GastroDad had the lamb shoulder with soft polenta and ginger carrots. The lamb was perfectly cooked, tender and gently falling apart, and the polenta smooth and creamy. Accompanying spring greens were oversalted.
We ended the evening by sharing the lemon tart, which was not quite as soft and creamy as I would personally have liked. The ‘zing’ levels were perfect, and the brulée
topping lovely and crisp. The pastry was disappointingly lacking in crunch.
York and Albany offers above average food at reasonable prices in a lovely setting. Service was variable, ranging from an exceptionally warm and enthusiastic greeting from the maitre d’, to less enthusiastic, rather supercilious and at times slow service during the meal. A definite recommendation for Camden locals, but probably not worth a trek across town.
York and Albany, 127-129 Parkway, Camden, NW1 7PS
Mummy friendly score: babysitter required
Gastrodad’s score: 6/10