- Soil Association
- September - Restaurant Review Duke of Cambridge
The Duke Of Cambridge - Review By Ceri Jones
Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge
30 St Peter's St London, N1 8JT
“Where gastropub meets organic. Not your average local, though if only it were.”
The Duke of Cambridge is not your average local boozer, but the first organically certified pub in the UK. It’s part of the Riverford organic farm brand, which is convenient for Londoners since Riverford itself is a whole 200 miles away in Devon.
I arrived with high expectations of seasonal, veg-centric, locavore cuisine. I left with my expectations well and truly met, my palate having been with delighted with rich yet fresh flavours, and my stomach pleasantly, but not overly stuffed from tasting a selection of dishes. I also gained an overwhelming desire to live amongst the town house lined back streets of London’s film-set worthy Islington district in which the pub nonchalantly sits.
I visited on a Thursday lunchtime, on a warm September day. Perfect timing for whiling away an afternoon basking in the warm oozes of daylight from the large dual aspect windows. With reclaimed furniture, freshly cut late summer flowers and menu chalkboards on the walls, this place had the décor and the resulting eco vibe nailed.
The menu itself is primarily veg centric, a seemingly recent trendy term for a menu / food movement that puts the vegetables first. There was a wide range of dishes to choose from, the majority drawn from seasonal and UK grown base. Though they will admit if not, for example the Padron peppers in the bar snacks we were informed were harvested in France.
I would have always assumed that an organic pub - especially in Islington - would have sky high prices. However with starters around £7-8, mains from £13-20 and desserts all priced at £6, this is comparable with what you would expect to pay at any decent London gastro pub.
For starters we sampled 2 dishes - a tomato, fennel and chilli salad and a squash, ricotta and batavia leaf salad. They were substantial, full of fresh flavour and tossed in delicious dressings. Was a main course needed after this? Perhaps sharing a starter would be an idea (or maybe a smaller portion for a smaller fee would appeal?)
With vegetables at the forefront of this menu you’d almost imagine that animal protein would be minimal? On the contrary, and there were actually only 2 vegetarian options, 1 from eggs, and the other a cheesy heavy pasta dishes. We again sampled 2 dishes; pork collar and ‘fish of the day’. It must have been my day since the fish of the day was monkfish, a fish usually so expensive I avoid cooking at home. It was cooked in a dreamy tarragon butter and sat above yet more tomatoes and fennel, and a good dose of courgette also (perhaps not the best starter and main menu pairing for me). The fish was cooked to perfection with a seared crust and soft inside. My forkful of pork was also a joy.
Dessert was a simply plated affair, sat on vintage tea plates. We opted for a rich lemon posset topped with a kiwi salsa, and a chocolate brownie with a too sweet for my palate butterscotch sauce - benchmark dishes for any restaurant dessert menu and comparisons were rife. At £6 a portion, taste aside, the desserts were perhaps a slight visual underwhelm to the rest of the meal.
With the smell of freshly brewed coffee scenting the air, I was tempted into a coffee to sup and while a little longer as my food went down. Full marks for organic, fairtrade coffee served from an individual bialetti on my table. Instagram was made for moment like this.
In summary? I wish this was my local boozer. I’ll be back in the evening to sample the organic wine…
3 course meal for 2, with coffee, but excluding drinks £40 per head.
Meet the Author
Ceri combines her passion for cooking and health through her work as a freelance cooking instructor, a food and recipe writer and yoga retreat chef. Ceri completed her Natural Chef training at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts near San Francisco in 2014, returned to London. She has since gone on to establish a flourishing career working with in various freelance capacities as a natural chef for companies such as Stretching the City Yoga retreats, The College of Naturopathic Medicine, Made in Hackney and The Shoreditch Trust. Ceri also cooks for regular yoga supper clubs with yoga teachers in London. She is writer of the whole foods blog Natural Kitchen Adventures, and was thrilled to win best free from blog at the Health Blog Awards in July 2016.Cooking instructor, recipe author and Chef