What with one thing and another and my fathers health being of a serious concern; Jo and I missed our anniversary dinner this year. Where to go to play catch up? Well for one reason & another it had to be Irvin’s Bar and Grill in Crouch End really. I booked to make sure because I had heard that it's the wise thing to do. I arrived before Jo and saw Stephen Irvine (the restaurateur) sitting at the bar. I was forearmed about Stephen by Jo, but also by Lloyd Cole who recommended the “Great Restaurant" I’m not a close friend of Lloyd Cole, I interviewed him a few years ago and occasionally we banter online - but he did reply straight away when I mentioned Stephen and his restaurant. (Stephen Irvine was in Lloyd Cole and The Commotions) I sat at the bar and thought ‘whiskey’... of course single malt. I was asked by Stephen if I preferred smokey or not. “No, not smokey I love Glenfiddich - is that smokey? - that’s not smokey?” Done.. Stephen had “just the thing..” Jo arrived and we sat at a table. I ordered another whiskey, fighting the urge to ask about ‘Rattlesnakes’ or ‘Mainstream!’ Then as Jo ordered, and the food arrived it sort of... took over.....
Warm bread with caraway butter and basil oil, Vegetarian Haggis Arancini, (this was my revenge because even as a carnivore I had never tasted Haggis ) served with neeps puree; Salad of fresh hand-picked crab, grilled red onion and green apple with calamansi dressing; Cauliflower tartare with smoked aubergine puree, served with crispy polenta chips; Grilled broccoli with harissa; Savoy cabbage with garlic and lemon.... Oh and a bottle of Prosecco in a pear tree.... What stood out for me is the obvious care, and the pride. As you enter Irvin’s Bar and Grill you sense this but then you get to taste it in the food! It was a lovely dining experience, and don’t get me wrong this food is special - the wines are special and speaking from experience, the whiskey is special!
Highly recommend - and next time I’m gonna quiz him about being in one of the most creative bands of my generation
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