The Living18-26 Essex Rd, London, N1, www.thelivingroom.co.uk
Situated just a minute’s walk from Upper Street, Islington’s main drag, The Living Room boasts a huge uncluttered space, which belies its double fronted exterior. The large U shaped bar is its central feature with comfortable seating to two sides and the restaurant seating area to its remaining aspect. We went there to sample the new spring menu,that we understand has been rolled out across The Living Room chain.
We decided to share two starters, the beer battered tiger prawns, and the traditional cheese fondue, which was for two, but we managed! The prawns were cooked beautifully, in their light crisp batter, and these little meaty hunks were matched well with the sweet chilli sauce and wasabi that they came with. The fondue was full flavoured and nicely tangy, it arrived with a platter of garlic soldiers, red pepper, which had been toasted to remove the skin and celery sticks. Both of these were very good tasty dishes.
Moving on to mains, the rib eye steak was cooked medium rare, as requested, a good-sized tender steak, supported well by a peppercorn sauce and chips. The pan fried ostrich fillet, also served medium rare, delivered two nuggets of meat, the texture had more substance than the rib eye, but a good flavour. These came with excellent dauphinoise potatoes, and a puy lentil jus. We shared sides of broccoli and honey roasted carrots, both of which were cooked well, leaving them with some bite.
Our desserts were Belgian waffles, served with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup; they were lovely, the crispiness of the waffles’ edges and its softer centre mixing well with the ice cream and sweet syrup. The banoffee in a bag, was a different slant on the standard banana banoffee, as the name suggests. This dessert, basically banana and toffee sauce sealed in a bag, then roasted, was served with ginger snap biscuits and ice cream to give the dish balance. Both were excellent and quite substantial.
We had the house red and white wines with our meal, the white, fruity with some acidity and the red, nicely smooth. Service was attentive throughout the meal.
If you have been to The Living Room before it is worth checking out what the new menu has to offer. If you haven’t been before, why not try it, they are good value and deliver great food and excellent service.