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January 29th, 2011

YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

Category: Brasserie (£££) green traffic5 150x150 YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

Set menu: 18 pounds for 2 courses, 21 pounds for 3 courses

York & Albany was a very pleasant surprise. You walk up Parkway from Camden Tube Station and it seems endless in wind and cold. You think you must have missed it, when you suddenly there it is: A Gordon Ramsey restaurant in the middle of nowhere (at least it seemed so to me, correct me when it’s a really cool area after all) at the corner of Regent’s Park  which is unpretentious and the food is really really good.

When you come in, there is a bar area (with apparently very good cocktails I was told) which invites to sit, chat and linger. I found out that there is also a boutique hotel attached to it with 10 rooms, I wouldn’t mind staying there at all actually.We dined upstairs in a comfortable dining room with big windows toward a little garden (it was dark so can’t tell you if it’s a nice garden) and there is another dining area in the basement. The upstairs one was nicer I thought.

We had booked the set menu (2 courses for 18 and 3 courses for 21 pounds) on toptable, but we clearly would not have needed to as when you arrive before 7pm you can just order it from the menu. (Cheeky toptable again, you think you have made this great deal and you clearly didn’t…)

When I saw the menu for the evening I was a bit disappointed at first. Did not sound too exciting actually. But boy, I was so wrong, the head-chef Colin Buchan was doing an amazing job.

 YORK & ALBANY (Camden)
The chicken liver and foie gras parfait did not look terribly pretty (in fact nothing looked that great, they could work on their presentation) but was delicious. Smooth and perfectly flavoured it worked heavenly together with the sweet and sour quince chutney. The little pieces of bread stuck in the chutney did look very weird though (we find the same concept of sticking things into stuff again with the dessert).

 YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

After the already promising first course the second was even better. Roast Salmon on savoy cabbage with chicory jam again sounded a bit blah, but emerged as one of the most interesting fish dishes I have eaten in a long time. The salmon was almost raw with just the outside crisp, wonderfully soft and flaky. The contrast of the salty cabbage and the sweet and bitter chicory jam was highly pleasurable and I was sad when it was over. Please next time without the baby turnips though. They did not add anything to the dish, you wonder if turnips every do actually.

 YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

And then the dessert! Wonderfully rich dark chocolate ganache which was so high in cacao content it was almost black. With it came caramelised bananas and honeycombs adding some luscious sweetness. It was one of these dessert where you have to hold yourself back to not lick the plate. (See photo: I put your attention to things being stuck into things again, I am not sure about this).

 YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

If you go for a la carte, the starters are around 9 and the mains around 20 pounds, so not cheap. I think I would have just about been happy to pay full price for the meal  as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But of course I like my bargains, and this set menu is a great one. Basically all go!

  • Food: 8/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Ambiance: 7/10
  • Value for money: 9/10 (set menu), can’t say for a la carte
  • Chances of returning: 50%
  • Verdict: high quality food and a set menu one just needs to go for. Highly recommended.

biglink YORK & ALBANY (Camden)

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