St John’s Tavern
91 Junction Road Archway London N19 5QU
For sheer theatricality, every restaurant in the area pales beside this Archway gastro-pub. With its gallery-wall of portraits by owner Nic Sharpe, chandeliers hung from a high old-gold ceiling and its leather Chesterfield sofas in front of the fireplace, the splendid dining hall of St John’s exudes confident glamour, but also manages to be both child-friendly and relaxed as well. The semi-open kitchen prepares a seasonal British menu – parsnip and chestnut soup with homemade bread, potted rabbit, ox liver and bacon with walnut jus, venison meatballs, Cornish mackerel or organic pork, for example – all sourced from credible suppliers. Weekend dinners and Sunday lunch are busy with locals, and reservations are recommended. After restoration by English Heritage, the bar at the front has emerged into a classy drinking spot. There’s food here, too: tapas, fresh pasties, sausage rolls and homemade scotch eggs. Heaven.