On the cusp of funky Camden and swanky Regent’s Park, this boutique hotel, bar and restaurant (part of the Gordon Ramsay empire), set in a magnificent stuccoed Victorian pub, fits the latter better. The spacious, soigné bar area serves superior snacks like truffled chips, burger and pizzas at fairly well-upholstered prices.
The restaurant – an equally airy space with a Mediterranean-style courtyard behind (and plush basement overflow room) – seems constantly packed, with diners clamouring for zesty dishes like dill-cured salmon with fennel and orange salad or lamb with courgettes and mint gremolata. The decently priced and spritely set lunch is especially light on calories – and sometimes on advertised ingredients: legumes were scanty in a rocket-packed pea and broad bean salad with goat’s cheese. Estimably gamey chicken with broccoli and pasta lacked the promised hazelnuts, but was nonetheless intensely satisfying; bream with sweet, sticky, meaty juices was beautifully paired with puréed and sliced artichoke. Refreshing desserts might include a cool, creamy rice pudding with morello cherries.
Y&A is perfect for lunching ladies and better for leisured classes than business: service is not paced for those rushing back to work. In the evening it’s understandably popular for well-heeled north London family occasions. The adjoining former stables is a rustic-looking deli and pizzeria serving top-notch thin-crust pizzas.