When it comes to eating out, the wise and the savvy visitor to London looks further afield for night-life attractions than Mayfair and Soho. This especially holds true during the coming months, when London is bound to be a ‘bit’ overcrowded with hoards of Olympic tourists.
This brings me nicely on to the Foundry, a cafe cum arts venue cum Italian restaurant. Located in Camden, which is admittedly something of a tourist magnate, this lovely restaurant, nevertheless is far enough away from the centre to offer a more relaxed, friendly vibe than the “tourist traps” of the “west-end”. It is the perfect antidote to the large-scale, commercial restaurants that abound in London – a family run, quirky and instantly adorable venue.
We paid a visit last month, on arrival our group was seated by an enthusiastic (and very attractive) waitress who explained the restaurant’s ethos. The Foundry’s menu offers traditional English food, or Italian classics depending on your mood. The manager is Italian, a good portion of the wine is Mafioso and thus the menu reflects the diversity of experiences that The Foundry offers.
Speaking of diversity, you either dine in more formal first floor glasshouse – a shrine to light, openness and Scandinavian design or the ground floor Osteria, a minimalist, “chilled out’ space. Adjacent is an inviting courtyard that is shared with “The Forge” next-door, a very popular arts venue where live music can be heard every night.
This is the restaurant’s biggest strength, you can go posh and order cannon of lamb with balsamic mint sauce and dine in quite formal surroundings or you can take it easy and enjoy their sublime beer battered fish and chips, followed by a few too many beers in the courtyard. Every taste is catered for, including the teetotallers with a surprisingly large selection of non-alcoholic cocktails.
Fancying some gusty, Sicilian food I plumped for handmade goats cheese ravioli with cherry tomatoes and basil sauce, followed by breaded chicken paillard with crispy leaves, toasted almonds and a mango lime infused sauce. All flawlessly executed and it rivalled experiences I have enjoyed at top Italian restaurants. My friend went for the Cannon of lamb with balsamic mint sauce, crushed rosemary potatoes and roasted peppers (did you get all that).
His lamb was the star of the show – perfectly pink and melt-in-the-mouth delicious, garnished with a pecorino crust, accompanied by, “sexy roasted rosemary potatoes.” Dessert consisted of chocolate sundaes, because by now Monday’s rule of no alcohol and rich food had been decidedly thrown out of the Fiat.
A few more cocktails and we were convinced, there is pretty much nothing to dislike about The Foundry. I like the fact that it’s lively but not overcrowded and you can turn up mid-week without needing a reservation. I also like the varied menu, fair pricing, lovely staff and great cocktail list.
If more restaurants like this existed then I’d never want to eat out in central London again!
The Foundry 3-7 Delancey Street, Camden Town, London, NW1 7NL Tel – 0207 7387 5959