You heard it on the grape vine – The Vine, Kentish Town

26 Mar 2018

I love the pub. Gastro-pubs, old man boozer’s, heck I think there’s even a time and a place for a Wetherspoons. Pubs were the reason I couldn’t see myself settling in Australia. (A hall with some fruit machines and beers on tap do not a pub make, Oz.) Anyway, all this is ironic, considering the manager doing a truly fantastic job at The Vine in Kentish Town is from down under herself.

After a recent re-haul, The Vine, in Kentish Town is bursting onto the scene with a new enthusiasm that sees it showcasing sparkling new glad rags, including a new seasonal menu and the first shuffleboards in NW5. Shuffle, bites and booze. Really, what more could you ask for?

Paying a visit on a freezing cold Friday evening, we were surprised to see so many patrons braving the great outdoors in the front courtyard. But, The Vine does proudly claim to have one of Kentish Town’s best pub garden. True to this, the area was generously fitted with heaters and dog-friendly to boot, making it a strong contender for that self-appointed award.

The décor and vibe inside is a very hip, boujee-space-meets-boudoir, with lots of plants (I love plants), huge windows and neon signs. It even had its own separate gin bar – a very nice touch indeed.  Then there’s the extended wrap-around bar that unites the front and back of the pub. Apparently, there are also two function rooms – the Highgate and Camden Rooms – to give drinkers and diners a place for private events. The clientele is young and fun, mainly couples and groups of friends.

The menu is great; just enough to provide ample options, not too much to warrant worry. We skipped over the small sharing plates and instead opted for a more traditional starter, main and dessert experience. The beauty of this place is that you can choose to do either. More plus points.

The house red is surprisingly palatable. So much so, we found ourselves asking about the supplier. The food itself, is really rather lovely, too. We started with the Seabass Ceviche with Pink Grapefruit (£7.50) and Dry-Rubbed Bone-In Chicken with Blueberry BBQ Sauce (£6.50). The former deliciously, delicately light, zingy and refreshing, the latter crunchy and smooth, with a sauce that was surprisingly great and not overly sweet as might be expected. For mains, it was a well-balanced Tuna with paprika and lemon, alongside a posh baked-beans-inspired accompaniment of Tomato, Spinach, Cannellini Beans & Salsa Verde (£15.00). The Bavette Steak was silky and included a pocket of heaven Brisket Croquette & Gravy, alongside the kickin’ Chimichurri Fries (£16.50). Can you tell which one of us is on a diet? I digress. Both dishes were very good. Better than good. They were great. We are planning when to go back. Dessert was a selection of artisan, home-made ice creams (£1.75). How good is ice cream? (refer to aforementioned diet). We tried the creamy salted caramel and the refreshing gin sorbet, which very much tasted like gin. Heston Blumenthal would be proud. Just to rub it in my face, my date also had the Triple Chocolate Brownie (£5.50). The mouthful I had was utterly incredible. (Bastard).

We didn’t manage to make it on to the shuffle boards as too many merry groups of 20-somethings hogged all the action. It looked very fun though. And you get to wear visors.  With an amazing menu, attentive staff and host to comedy, quiz nights and live music as well as two 12-foot shuffleboards, there really is something for everyone at The Vine. I truly am jealous of those who get to call it their local. What a gem.

Elisse

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