The Albion

10 Thornhill Road, Islington, London N1 1HW

Sitting pretty on this refined Barnsbury backstreet, the Albion certainly looks like a grand old coaching inn even if there’s some doubt it ever was one. The ferns, flowers and greenery that cascade down its elegant Georgian frontage hint at the pleasures beyond. There’s usually seating room at benches and tables in its front yard, but the real joy here is to retreat into the secluded walled garden at the back. While plenty of people drop in for a pint or a Pimm’s, the Albion has now positioned itself at the upper end of the gastro-pub spectrum, charging restaurant prices for generally excellent food. The Sunday roast is the big thing here, at around £17 for succulent slices of roast beef. Summer evenings are popular too, when the garden fills with the appetizing smells of barbecued meat. With three days’ notice, you can even buy a whole roast suckling pig (serving ten diners) for £300. In winter, the cosy interior, with its open fires, is a snug haven.

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