Draper's Arms, Islington, London
Incredible bread -- very soft, and with a depth of flavour perhaps from molasses, a nuanced sweetness and woodsiness. While I appreciated the technique and refinement in the brown bread that I had at Social Eating House recently, I could stop eating it. I couldn't show the same restraint here.
Duck rilette was hearty, nicely shredded duck that gel together but easily teased apart on a bite. Rich, flavoursome, tender. Counterpoints from sour gherkins and crunchy toast.
Rabbit hotpot was another homey but well made dish. The rabbit was moist and tender, enhanced by crunchy coarsely chopped bacon that provided the perfect nudge of meaty smoky flavours. Kale for contrast. And mashed potatoes which were ok - tasting more of butter than potatoes. A well tuned amount of light gravy that provided a savoury gloss of flavour.
Steamed ginger cake had good ginger flavour, embedded with sweet bits of candied ginger. Slightly dry on the inside, but easily remedied by a rich custard with a lovely eggy flavour.
A good meal on the whole, with straightforward cooking and decent pricing - starters around £6-7 mostly, mains mostly at £15-16, desserts at ~£6. Not as good value as say Pizarro for example, where similar prices might land a slightly superior meal, but still worthwhile all the same.
I ate almost the same lunch at what must have been almost the same time of year at the Draper's.
An excellent pub, consistently great food (and bread).
It isn't cheap when you run to 3 courses (there are often a few mains more expensive than £15-16) but it is some of the best pub cooking in London in my view and also an excellent, enjoyable venue for a big lunch.
I went on Sunday and shared the slow roast shoulder of lamb, roast potatoes and veg with 3 other people.
It says on the menu that it serves 2/3 but having had it before, I knew it would be enough for the four of us. (2 being elderly ladies with small appetite)
Very satisfying meal.