Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Angelic - pre-shopping lunch haven

Somehow pushing your way around an overcrowded Sainsbury is so much more bearable if it is preceded by a nice pub lunch. (I've learned to go easy on the pre-shopping beer though, as then the contents of the supermarket trolley have a danger of veering off in to the impractical/expensive territory.) For such weekend lunches, The Angelic comes into its own. Big windows keep the white-walled room bright even in a drizzly December. There are rustic-looking wooden tables and brown leather sofas, as well as a randomly stocked book case if all the weekend papers have been nabbed by the time you arrive. On our last visit they were putting up a Christmas tree, a huge one thanks to the tall ceilings. There's a good selection of beers -- from Russian Baltika to well-kept real ales -- as well as a menu of freshly made juices and smoothies for anyone on a detox. The prices aren't cheap, but this is upmarket Islington after all. They do weekly specials for Sunday lunch (two roasts, and something veggie), but unlike a lot of places they also offer the normal menu. Before the mains, we are served a wooden board with soft white bread and dinky bowls of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coarse sea salt and pepper. It takes the edge of the hunger nicely and mains aren't far behind. The roast pumpkin, leek and Stilton strudel is very nice, and helps convince that pumpkin is an under-rated vegetable. (I re-discovered it when in a bid not to be wasteful I fried up the Halloween pumpkin covered in flour, with apples, cream and cheese.) I was a bit apprehensive about the accompanying bubble and squeak rosti, remembering a pile of non-descript tasteless lumpy mash-type stuff that used to be served with fry-ups in Bristol's York Cafe. This version though was crisp, nicely and seasoned and delicious enough to inspire me to try my own version at home. The duck, orange and apricot sausage (£10.50) tasted strongly of the ingredients, which so many posh flavoured sausages don't seem to manage. It was served with puy lentils -- one of my favourite accompaniments -- and saut√©ed leeks and red currant gravy. We could have lingered there all afternoon (they have board games too), but sadly Sainsbury's was calling...
The Angelic, 57 Liverpool Road , Islington, N1 0RJ; Tel: 020 7278 8433; Tube: Angel; www.theangelic.co.uk.
PS I now have a shiny new mobile phone with apparently a decent camera, so will endeavour to sneakily capture my food in the future in a bid to make this blog a bit more colourful.

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