Age: Barely a month, the third in a small chain with branches in Willesden and Dalston. The brains behind it is Jonathan Perritt, the bloke who turned Belsize Park pub The Stag into north London’s best party boozer (FYI: it’s the one with the brilliant festival-like back garden).
Where exactly is it? Next to Waitrose in the Art House on the corner of York Way. It faces directly onto the canal and there’s a decent pub over the road, the scruffy-chic Star of Kings, which has been doing craft beer and good burgers for many years. Competition, then.
OK. So what goes on there? It really does do what it says on the tin. There’s a small list of six sandwiches on the wall: a cheeseburger (£8) comes with a generous two patties as standard (the ‘double’ means, a tad confusingly, three).
Why? Because, says the server, the thinner patties are cooked more quickly and therefore stay juicier. We can indeed vouch for that: grilled medium-pink and oozingly ‘dirty’ in a squelch-and-plop way, they’ll result in messy post-prandial hands. The chicken option (£8) is just as good, its tender breast lifted by a mustardy mayo and hint of briny tartare. There are also vegan options and specials.
Are the sides much cop? Yes, indeedy. Fries are crisp and skinny, while a super-slaw is lightly dressed, with the raw crunch of red cabbage, quinoa and carrot. Utterly sinful halloumi sticks are topped with chilli, spring onion and sour cream. Need some tang? The pickled cucumber levels sweet and sharp admirably.
The interior: discuss. As previous incarnation The Greek Larder, the airy glass-sided space felt Mediterranean and contemporary; now it’s a more typically edgy-urban mix of neon, all pink and turquoise accents. You order at the bar, behind which are scrawled the changing list of craft beers, and sit on stools at simple wooden tables, or in front of the open kitchen and watch the sturdy brioche buns being steamed with a cloche for added moisture.
And what do I drink? With 300 crafty brews, you might well ask: there are the usual candidates and some way more out-there ones. We dived straight into the new Beavo lager from Beavertown – the store’s first “tap residency”. Later in the year there’ll be others like Verdant Brewing Co, Northern Monk, Cloudwater and Brew By Numbers.
What’s the service like? As you’d expect: smiley and swift. But perhaps they don’t want you to linger as long as you might at the pub over the road.
Do say: “Meet me for Best Friend Tuesday”. (On the last Tuesday of the month it’s two-for-one if you bring a mate).
Don’t say: “Where’s Meat Liquor?”