With a friendly, classic atmosphere, it’s hard to be anything but comfortable at The North Pole. A worthy staffer in the gastropub category, this new Islington resident butters some impressive trans-Atlantic bread thanks to its US-style food and British approach behind the bar.
Let’s tackle the food first. Great pleasure could be found in almost everything my companion and I tried. A sumptuous Scotch egg sat nicely beside a pot of home-made pork scratchings that are almost as big as your head, served with a mouth-watering pot of spiced apple sauce. Alternatively, a pint glass filled with whole prawns offers a simple and quirky treat – if you have the patience to shell each one, of course. However, the shining star was definitely the ‘finger lickin’ chicken strips with ranch dressing. Finger lickin’ indeed. For £4 each, or even cheaper the more you buy, they are all top notch home-made flavours for a good price.
The main courses did not fail to impress either, starting with a solid beef burger and sweet potato wedges that would satiate even the most hungry of patrons, or the more adventurous pulled pork burger which is well worth a sample. However, top of the recommended list is easily the whole rack of BBQ ribs. Talk about finger lickin’, these beauties just beg you to get stuck in and not give a damn about the mess you’re making of your face and hands. A final recommendation comes in the form of the mac & cheese with bacon. Simple, classic and hearty – perfect for the colder months to come.
Impressively, the simple but cracking food is not the last trick up the sleeves of The North Pole. They serve a large range of independent, unique or craft beers and ciders that they will be happy to guide you through according to taste. They have everything from the classic flavours of the Orchard Pig ciders, guest elderflower ales or IPAs (try their limited supply of honeyed IPA if you really want to taste something good) to the more devilish Black Dragon cider and the über smoky Norwegian Wood.
If you’re quick, from 28 September to 7 October they will be celebrating National Cask Ale Week, giving you the opportunity to try an even bigger range of ales for just £2 a pint (This very happy hours runs from 6pm-7pm). Furthermore, you’ll be able to learn from the top dogs with an aficionado-friendly expert afternoon on Saturday 6 October.
All in all, there is much to praise at The North Pole. Whether you’re there for some solid grub, the independent beers and ciders, or a spot of both, you’ll find the staff friendly, knowledgeable and efficient, and it won’t be long before you’re back.
The North Pole
188-190 New North Road
Tel: 020 7354 5400