Saturday night had been spent soothing a cross, tired baby who was fed up of being woken up as we moved him from buggy to aeroplane to baby carrier to car to cot. We finally arrived home from a week in Rome at 12pm and headed straight for bed, thinking that Gastrobaby would surely sleep in the next morning, given his late night. We were wrong. 5.30am and the day began. Lack of sleep and a post-holiday empty fridge made a home cooked Sunday roast unlikely, so whilst Gastrodad undertook emergency blackberry repairs, I mooched around Angel looking for somewhere to eat. While at The Regent (good pizza) for a friend’s birthday a few weeks before, I had spotted The Barnsbury a few doors down, so we thought we would try it out.
The atmosphere was laid back and kid friendly, with a couple of families with young children already there. We were handed the Sunday Roast menu, which listed six choices, all served with roast potatoes and vegetables. Gastrobaby had finally fallen asleep, so we ordered the roast rib of west country beef, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce (£15.50) and the roast free range chicken, chipolata and bacon (£12.50), and settled down with the Sunday paper.
A fairly long wait meant we had made fair headway through the papers before the food arrived. I glanced nervously at Gastrobaby, willing him not to wake up before we’d even had our first mouthful. When two heaped plates appeared, I looked straight to the roast beef and was delighted to see beautifully pink meat, oozing juice.
The chicken was tender and the vegetables were well cooked, the carrots were particularly sweet and crunchy. The Yorkshire pudding on the other hand was a disaster, a lump of stodge, and the roast potatoes were only average. Both these things are tricky, but not that tricky, nothing a quick Delia tutorial couldn’t correct. It was as Gastrodad and I shared our disappointment over the yorkshire pudding that a member of the waiting staff did some overly zealous furniture rearranging right behind the buggy…and the wails began, and grew louder, and louder. A sleep deprived eight month old, who has just exchanged the sunshine of Rome for the drizzle of London was not to be consoled by pieces of courgette or carrot, no matter how well cooked. And so we ended our meal taking it in turns to walk the buggy up and down the street in an effort to get him back to sleep. Of course a baby is the parent’s responsibility, but waiting staff, please please make some concessions for a sleeping baby, because the cry of interrupted sleep will ruin the parents’ lunch far more than a stodgy Yorkshire pudding every could.
There was no time for pudding, but we could have chosen from a broad selection of restaurant classics (pannacotta, chocolate fondant etc). The wine list was decent, ranging from £15 to £36 a bottle, with a good selection of wines by the glass.
So aside from Gastrobaby’s interrupted nap, which I don’t think I can really blame on the waiting staff, how does the Barnsbury rate? Competition to the Peasant or the Eagle it is not, but neither is it trying to be. If I had the Barnsbury as my local I’d be pleased. They serve good quality, hearty food at reasonable prices, and it’s a great option for a laid back Sunday lunch.
The Barnsbury, 209 Liverpool Road, London N1 1LX
Mummy friendly score: 7/10 (I didn’t have time to check for a babychange though)
Gastrodad score: 6/10 (one mark lost for waking up a sleeping baby!)