As shops, restaurants and pubs up and down Kingsland Road fall to the army of hipsters making this part of London their home, Faulkners soldiers on in a defiantly old-school way. The takeaway side does a brisk trade; on the right is a surprisingly formal restaurant, with quaintness added by mock wooden beams, a fish tank and dimpled windows.
The food is similarly from a bygone age (as is the soundtrack – Phil Collins, Jennifer Rush). To start, there’s prawn cocktail, scampi, fish cakes, rollmops or mussels. Catch of the day (cod, haddock, plaice, rock, salmon) is fried in batter or matzo meal, or grilled. Accompaniments are chips or boiled potatoes, and a standard portion of mixed veg.
All this, plus the heavy napkins, net curtains and service from a weary old waiter, should be a classic nostalgic dining experience – the problem is that the food isn’t quite as good as it should be. Chips are a little wan, tartare sauce all mayo and no punch. A grilled plaice was generous but slightly soggy. Tradition is fine, but it’s not always enough.