The Canonbury Tavern is situated a short walk away from the busy pub-strewn main street of Highbury and Islington, and has recently undergone a stylish refurb just in time to entice would-be pubgoers up Canonbury Road into its massive beer garden for the summer. Already boasting one of the largest (and indeed cleanest) one-tier pub gardens in North London, the interior of the pub has been refreshed very nicely too – minimalist in places but keeping that nice wood-textured feel in the main section of the pub to keep things cosy where it counts. The new look is smooth but without a loss of character, and although the pub garden itself has a few synthetic touches (fake grass being the most noticeable) it’s a beautiful spot in which to sit in and enjoy one of the many drinks on offer.
Speaking of which, The Canonbury is a Young’s Brewery pub, meaning there are a wide range of tasty beers and ales on offer, although the thing that really stood out for me is a selection of really decent wines for good prices. The whites were all well-chosen for refreshment in the summer heat, and the reds would all go excellently with pretty much anything from the bar or grill menu – especially the flatiron steak with roasted garlic butter. The menu mostly consists of fancy versions of pub favourites (the salt brisket and beef gravy roll with pickled cabbage sounds particularly tempting) mixed with a few slightly more left-field options, like the slow-cooked bacon, tomato and bean Ragu with poached egg.
If it’s a sit-down meal you are after, though, head to the restaurant area and you will find some mouth-watering options, from duck breast, carrot and ginger with coconut dal to slow-cooked pork belly or truffled celeriac gratin (a mouthful for the foodies among you!) The prices are slightly high here but nothing too far above what you would expect around Highbury and Islington, and for a departure from the average pub menu into restaurant-quality territory, it should be worth the extra.
Overall both the atmosphere and new look strike the right chord, if you are looking for a little something different, away from the busy high street, look no further.
21 Canonbury Place
Tel: 02077 042 887