Note: As of January 2015, The Lady Ottoline has been taken over by the Affinity Bars and Restaurants group, which also owns Newman Street Tavern, The Princess Victoria and The Henry Root. The Time Out Eating and Drinking Team
This upmarket gastropub is part of the small Noble Inns stable that includes the Princess of Shoreditch and the Pig & Butcher in Islington. All three have a commitment to drink as well as food, with space given over to drinkers and a selection that runs from cocktails and real ales (four on rotation at any one time) to a thoughtful wine list.
Food is served in the ground-floor bar at the Lady Ottoline, but for a more sedate meal, it’s best to dine in the pleasant first-floor room. The menu is a bit more adventurous than most gastropubs – witness a starter of braised lamb’s tongue, sweetbreads and sheep curd – and ingredients are carefully sourced. Grilled sardines (a special) were fabulously fresh; also excellent was a creamy rabbit pie with toothsome pastry, and a robust starter of ham hock ballotine. A side of chicory and pomegranate salad was worth every penny of its £3.50 price tag. Less compelling was fish cake with poached egg, béarnaise and fennel salad.
The kitchen can turn out quality puddings too, in this case marinated blood orange with white chocolate, and vanilla panna cotta with mulled figs. The latest addition to the group is barbecue specialist the Smokehouse, also in Islington.