Review of 'York & Albany'

An email recently arrived in my inbox from the Gordon Ramsay group about a special “One on Us” promotion for the new year which was a two/three course meal for £20/£24…for two people. An offer we could not really refuse so we made our reservation with “York & Albany”, a name I have heard a few times, a restaurant located a bit out of the way for us but to try something new we decided to give it a go.

Located a short walk from the Camden Town tube past a number of small, trendy, eateries York & Albany is located on a busy traffic corner opposite Regents Park and has the general flavour of an up-market gastro pub. The interior is quite modern and sleek with a bar area in the middle, though this is largely just for show - You sit at tables here. Visiting earlier in the evening we were offered our choice of tables by the window which was a bit of a distraction as the view consists largely of the traffic whizzing by only a few metres away. We had dressed up a bit but this is largely unnecessary as I saw many wearing jeans though I think a t-shirt might be pushing it.

The menu is simple and divided into cocktails (expanded greatly in a separate cocktail menu), pizza, nibbles, starters, mains, sides and desserts along with various “special offer” sections. We started by ordering two Virgin Mojitos though were puzzled when two tall glasses of red liquid appeared on the table. These turned out to be very tasty Virgin Marys…not quite what we ordered. Of course, the waiter, with a heavy Brazilian accent, was extremely apologetic later bringing out two complementary Mojitos later in the evening. This was not, however, the only time that orders appeared to be messed up with the table next to us getting incorrect plates delivered to the table not once but twice. I can see that the place was busy with a full house up front and a large party filling the back, but I find it difficult to forgive this from what should be professional service.

I started my set menu with “Pig’s head croquettes, quince purée & pickles” (on the standard menu for £10) which was quite tasty but was dry and could have done with some more of the purée.

My companion had the “soup of the day” which was the “Button mushroom velouté, tarragon oil” (£8 normally) and turned out to be very tasty indeed. Subtle yet incredibly rich and in a generous portion size. Interesting that bread was not provided for us…

My main was the “Cottage pie” (from their normal “express menu” meal at £12.50) that I found filling but otherwise unmemorable. Tasteless and boring to the extreme.

On the other side of the table my companion had the “Cod & salmon fishcake, rocket pesto” which was a large single fishcake in a crispy coating whose flavour was good but, again, nothing of any note with too much potato and not enough fish with a nice pesto. Again, simply “nice” but no where near amazing.

The dessert was a bit better with my having the “Spiced panna cotta & ginger syrup” - Winter spices with a nice kick from the ginger. Deliciously smooth and tasty.

The “Dark chocolate tart” enjoyed by my dining date was extremely rich with dark chocolate perhaps too much so considering it's size. The nutty, creamy, and rich ice cream on top was delicious.

The bill caused a bit more confusion for a few minutes as I discussed with our server the fact I had actually pre-purchased a voucher and the total should be £24 cheaper. A quick correction and all was well. To be fair, we really enjoyed our server and the rest of the staff who certainly were professional and extremely polite, if somewhat curt.

We had been looking forward to a nice relaxing meal but with the busy, somewhat noisy restaurant and the distracting traffic outside we did not feel it was a place you wanted to linger (most other diners tended to eat and go fairly quickly as well). Inquiring about the summer we were told that other than the tables on the pavement outside (no idea why you would want to eat the smog in such a busy traffic junction, but, hey-ho) there is no area at the back, really, either so in the summer I can't see it as being too much of an attraction.

All in all, a disappointing evening on the food front from our, yes, cheap set menu but looking at the rest of the menu it does look more promising and if in the area I might be willing to give it another chance but given that it is somewhat off the beaten track this is probably unlikely. Prices looked pretty high for the a la carte but with the frequent meal deals that appear to be on offer here it makes it a bit easier to take…just don't expect magnificence if you take them up on it.

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2017-01-19

Cuisine: American/British

Address: 127-129 Parkway, London NW1 7PS

Public Transport: TUBE Camden Town

Location: London (England) - Camden Town



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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 592 1227