Camden’s York & Albany is a (mostly) British restaurant by none other than shouty, pouty, face-cracks-need-some-grouty Gordon Ramsay. With an atmosphere nestled between brasserie and higher-end restaurant, York & Albany brightens up the edges of Camden and Regent’s Park like a majestic deer trotting through a perilous array of hit-and-miss eateries and music venues.
Internally it is very neat and tidy. An olive coloured, wide-brimmed bar greets you as you enter, with a scattering of seating ample enough for you to relax with a drink while you wait for a table. Into the dining room little changes. Large paper lanterns hang over a very neutral and unthreatening collection of widely spaced tables; the back of the room finishing in a tall, full-width glass wall to keep things light and airy. Or, if you prefer, you can either head downstairs to a more enclosed area suited for larger parties, or indeed head to the rather quirky shed-like dining room in the garden for an intimate one table affair.
The food continues the neat and tidy theme set out from the start. Choices are kept to a minimum, with classy starters such as crab salad, confit rabbit, aubergine terrine or sea trout tartare landing at around £8 to £12.
Head to the mains and you’ll see grilled pheasant, welsh lamb, rib-eye steak or sea bass, plaice or cod, with a few vegetarian options as well. On Sunday the menu changes slightly to focus more on a traditional roast. Prices range from £15 all the way to nearly £30, but I did say this was a middle-class affair that strives to upgrade you from your usual gastropub experience. Extra accompaniments can also be added on if you are feeling hungry, but from what I saw most mains were already big enough on the plate.
Head to dessert and you will find more than a few more favourites including cheesecake, treacle tart, crumble and a selection of British cheeses (£7-£10). If you’re like me, a glass of port is also very welcome as a finish.
I’ve been twice now, once in the middle of the year, and once just before Christmas. Both times the food has been great. Whether chosen from the á la carte or from the traditional (or festive) lunch menu, nothing is too fancy, instead offering what is ostensibly meat/fish and two veg (I mean that in a good way), just done with aplomb.
One final thing: there is a strange pizza annex next door, which may or may not be any good. I haven’t been, so if you do, perhaps you could head to the comments section below to shed some light on whether it works alongside the main restaurant.
…But as far as the British menu is concerned? A thoroughly easy recommendation.
York & Albany
Tel: 0207 592 1227