120 Park Road Crouch End London N8 8JP
Design statements like a ‘log-pile’ bar, bold wallpapers and crystal chandeliers suggest that this is a gastro-pub for the cocktail classes. The menu seems similarly pitched, with seasonal mains such as miso-marinated cod with mash and pak choi in a soy-and-sherry sauce or good vegetarian dishes, like roast pumpkin with soft sage polenta. Yet for all its appearances, Villiers Terrace is a relaxed affair by day, busy only when local mothers and children meet for lunch, and things only sharpen up in the evenings, when DJs add grooves on weekends and dinner reservations are essential. Reserve, too, for Sunday lunch, best eaten al fresco in summer in the rear courtyard.