Beware of what you read in public. It may give people the wrong idea of your intentions. I’m not talking about getting through Fifty Shades of Grey on your lunch break or having a bit of innocent fun on the Tube with a copy of the Bible and repeated mutterings of ‘Let me be the agent of your vengeance Lord. I shall smite without mercy’. I’m talking about standing around on a street corner of Camden with a copy of Hunter S Thompson’s analysis of the 1972 American presidential election. You’ll find yourself approached in the following manner:
‘Hey mate, you look like quite a clever bloke, reading that book. Do you want to buy some weed?’
I had to say no for a couple of reasons. One is that I don’t do drugs anymore and the other is that saying yes would contravene a piece of advice given to me by a friend; never buy drugs from white people. Their tendency to view everything as a business means that you don’t get good stuff.
Fortunately, one’s experience of Camden does not need to be limited to courteous interactions with drug dealers. Camden High Street is sharpening itself up and distinguishing itself from the groggy squalor of the Lock. The Foundry, which lies just off the high street on Delancey Street, is an example of the chic sophistication that is coming to dominate this area.
The venue is combined with The Forge, which provides the musical entertainment, whilst the Foundry does the food and drink, simple yet filling British fare. A companion and I stopped in for a couple of cocktails, preferring this form of intoxication to the others already eschewed.
My companion started off with a summery Tea on the Lawn, a mixture of jasmine-infused gin, cucumber, lime, basil, sugar and soda. I plumped for a Rhubarb Triangle, which combined Aperol, gin and rhubarb liqueur mixed with mint. I remember Aperol from my grandparents’ drinks cabinet and with it being quite sickly to drink. That was before I was caught and shoed away. I was intrigued how it could be combined in a drink. The result was very welcome, with the Italian spirit combining with the rhubarb liqueur to keep the integrity of the rhubarb’s flavour but without its tartness.
The Tea on the Lawn was light and cool, ideal for replicating the sensation of actually being able to enjoy drinks on the lawn, something sorely missed in this drizzle-fest of a summer.
We ventured for a second with my companion choosing a Bloody Mary. The concoction was decent but no more than that. The prize for the best Bloody Mary in town still belongs to the folks at 69 Colebrooke Row.
My choice of a Molten Mary was extremely pleasant, a vibrant mix of strawberries muddled with vodka, chilli, coriander, lemon and pepper. It was a little heavy on the chilli but not overbearingly so.
The drinks on offer at the Foundry are reasonably priced and the atmosphere inside is genteel and welcoming. The venue is not necessarily a place to go out for but is a stylish spot to drop in on if you’re passing through the area.
3 – 7 Delancey Street
Tel: 020 7387 5959