On a sunny Sunday evening we pondered where to eat wishing to stay local. This would usually be a no brainer as Del Parc is just across the road but they are closed on Sundays. So, instead we ventured down the road to The Junction Tavern.
We used to eat here fairly often but recently have preferred meals at the St John Tavern when wanting someoub grub, living just about slap bang in between the 2, I figure we should alternate. Then there's The Lord Palmerston, we're a bit spoiled in Tufnell Park really.
Anyway, The Junction Tavern serve food until 9:30 on a Sunday, this swung it and the memory of a wonderful fish stew I'd previously had there. The menu is concise, choose between about 6 starters and 6 mains, which I think is actually a bit limiting. I'd like to see a few more options.
The Junction Tavern is the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub of the year and this weekend for the bank holiday they had a Spring Beer Festival with about 20 kegs of ales stacked near to the entrance. The place was busy and this was attracting a fair amount of interest from fellow diners, they have this festival and an Autumn one in September or October.
The pub is split into 2 sections, a room at the front with large windows with an open kitchen at the centre and around the corner at the back of the building is a conservatory type dining room. Both are pleasant, I prefer the front and was pleased to be seated in the corner a little way away from the kitchen.
We shared a starter, a lamb shoulder salad with feta, shallots, chopped cucumber and capers.
This was an interesting combination of flavours, I hadn't expected it to be a salad to be honest, that wasn't clear on the menu but I was delighted with the dish. Feta, afterall is one of my ultimate favourite ingredients. Thomas was less keen, but liked it.
For main course I had the whole mackeral with samphire, broad beans and jersey royals. I was over the moon with this, I love mackeral but usually have it smoked. Mackeral is strongly fishy and oily, yet still quite delicate in flavour. The samphire and broad beans were perfectly seasoned and the wedge of lemon worked brilliantly.
I love jersey royals, they're substantial and not floury, ideal here to accompany the fresh fish and seasonal veggies. I can't get enough of broad beans when they're in season but tend to not do them at home because they can be fiddly, podding and shelling them seems like a bit much work but it's well worth it.
Thomas went for the ribeye steak with chips and aioli. Served with watercress and wholegrain mustard. Thomas is a steak lover and was disappointed with the cut, he said it infact was not ribeye but was cooked reasonably well. Had they not run out of the belly pork Thomas would probably have opted for that.
We also had desserts, pavlova for Thomas and lemon posset with shottbread for me. I love love loved the lemon posset, dipping in the shortbread is a killer combination, crumbly biscuit, tart and creamy posset, this is the perfect follow up to a fishy meal, the citrus element a perfect continuation of the lemony flavour of my main course. The only fault I would have is that is was perhaps a little too cold and there was a hard layer on the top from where it had been sitting in the fridge, possibly uncovered. Still the underneath was wonderfully oozing, the perfect consistency.
Thomas is a huge fan of the meringue, cream fruit amalgamation. Pavlova on the menu is a no branier for him. He liked it but was not raving like I was about my posset. The pavlova was clearly homemade, gooey on the inside as meringue should be but Thomas declared he's had better. It certainly looked impressive.
I like the Junction Tavern and am rarely disappointed, I usually have fish so perhaps that's the key but they consistently deliver and the service is lovely, very welcoming and friendly. For this weekend only they seem to have managed to cater for foodies and beer lovers alike. Credit where credit's due for that.
The Junction Tavern
101 Fortess Road, NW5