The Island Queen is literally sitting in between two pubs. The Duke of Cambridge, with its organic virtues, and the Narrowboat with its boil in the bag foods and quite crap beers.
The Island Queen kinda sits (geographically) in between these two pubs. Although I would say it is the better of the 3 by far.
I’ve never eaten a full meal at the Duke of Cambridge, but to what people have told me and the reviews I’ve read, its food is over priced and not that fantastic. But their bar snacks and cheese boards are. The beers are really why I drink there (when I do). The openness of the bar area is fantastic, so much light and space gives you that relaxed feeling.
The Narrowboat on the other hand is cramped and less than cosy. Its only redeeming feature is that you can stand outside by the canal and watch the world run and cycle by you. Other than that it’s not that good. Again never eaten there, as their boil in the bag food does not grab me. I watched the kitchen before whilst drinking outside.
The Island Queen has a lot of character. Linas cousin introduced me to the place just after we got back. It struck me from the off as a great pub with lots of life. I liked the bar staff and the people who drank and ate there. I love pubs like this.
So for ages I’d been wanting to go back and eat there, as the menu looked appetising to me. An excuse wasn’t needed it was just finding time to fit it in. Not that I’m doing a lot recently, unemployment leaves you with lots of time to do, like err, nothing.
We awoke late on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning. A walk along the canal was planned to take us all the way to Camden and beyond.
Food was either gonna be the Breakfast Club, a favourite in that part of the Upper Street area, or now I had a chance to try the Island Queen. It had been quite a while since my last roast, so let’s kill two birds with one stone.
There are a few tables outside but after my last roast outside on a sunny day, we took quite a battering from Mr Sun, we were glad there were no spaces.
The fantastic horseshoe bar hits you as you walk in. Its high ceilings and those small dainty chandeliers add to the atmosphere of the place. Even though the décor has an Autumnal feel to it, with the large windows in the front and mirrors aptly placed it still feels light and airy.
The roast was what we came for, and the roast we had. I opted for the roast beef, and Lina had the roast leg of lamb, with 2 pints of Hoegaarden it came to about £26(ish).
Normally I would choose a bitter, but on a day like this I wanted something light and refreshing. I even opted for the slice of lemon to be added, something I normally scoff at. But it was a stunning day.
The roasts came and looked identical. Well apart from the meat they were same same. Two roast potatoes (not crispy at all), small mound of nice mash. (I like mash with a roast sometimes), sautéed leeks (yum), a yorkie, that looked not home made but tasted good, and some slightly undercooked carrots and some untopped and untailed, but well cooked French beans.
The meats were ok. Linas lamb had more flavour than my beef, but the good gravy over powered both. The mint and horseradish sauces were both from a jar. Not only could you tell, but the chef asked a barman to go out and buy some more as he was running out. Quality.
It was not a stunning roast by anyones standards, it was more like going round a mates house and having a roast there. Nice and comforting.
I want to return there, but maybe just to drink, as they have an impressive display of Euro beers and some good ciders, and I love pubs with character. There are so few of them left these days.