The Drapers Arms, Islington

Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.

This is a long process, so please bear with will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.

Please note that this review is from October 14, 2020 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

So in a week where we all become obsessed by tiers, I thought I’d review The Drapers Arms in Islington. Yeah, there’s not meant to be any connection.

Ahhh that’s better.

So our blonde-mopped master that wants to rule the world has given us our Tiers for Fears. I know, let it all out, I’ve just sown the seeds of love. You and me, baby. You and me in our very own tier of love.

I’ve assessed it, and even Tier 3 seems to mean that I can still go for a roast dinner. Albeit either by myself or with my support bubble person (that is still a thing, right?) – who perhaps not so coincidentally is my most regular accomplice on my Sunday roast adventures. Alas, she thinks that The Drapers Arms has the best wine list in Islington. Who thinks like that? Especially when they are supposed to be from up north.

Alas, Tier 3 could potentially also mean that I’m not allowed out of Harrow. Which isn’t great from a roast dinner reviewing perspective. Or a life perspective. No, I didn’t move house like I said that I would. I’m still “decluttering”. Slowly. Very, very slowly.

And then, of course, we could just go full-on Tier Starmer. Come, on, tell me you are laughing out loud, with tiers rolling down your face?

Yeah, Tier Starmer would be pretty shit for reviewing roast dinners. Brave call.

Draping my arms around your manboobs

I don’t feel massively inspired at the moment, so I guess I’ll just move on to reviewing the roast dinner. I think like most people the uncertainty and increasing drumbeat of lockdown is grinding me down, and my inspiration levels are around the same level as my weekend sobriety levels.

Just be thankful that it isn’t Tier Starmer who writes this.

This would be a good place for a heading. But I’ve already put one above. Hmmm.

Ahhhh, the solution. Now I can start writing about The Drapers Arms. It is a pretty highly-regarded pub in Islington, an area of the country where very few people shag their chickens. Split on two levels – the pub, not the chicken’s legs – we were seated upstairs on a table of 4 – yes, two households mixing, the horror of it.

Unlike a lot of venues which have really pared back their menus since lockdown (understandably), The Drapers Arms had a rather extensive menu as you can see…

Oh why isn’t my image uploading? The uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini. Fuck off, WordPress, it doesn’t. I give up. What you laughing at? Fucking write the fucking roast dinner review yourself. Or get Tier Starmer to do so.

I went for a roast dinner. They had a menu. Different options. I thought about choosing an option. I assessed the options thoroughly. I let someone else decide the best option.

Draping my heading around your eyes to wipe those tiers away

OK, fine I’m back. I had a break…well, I did 8 hours of work. Actually, I lied, I have 15 minutes of my lunch break left.

So on the menu for I DON’T SHARE FOOD types (I don’t share food) was lamb rump or pork belly. For food sharing types, there was the option of a whole roast chicken, a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb or beef forerib. Do you have to be married to want to share a roast?

I chose the pork belly, mainly because I fancied pork belly. Priced at £18.50.

It took around 30 minutes to arrive, I think. I wasn’t really taking too much notice, I was enjoying trying to talk about the Aston Villa game to the Liverpool fan on the table. Don’t worry, I’m safe, he isn’t from Liverpool. And I mean that in a covid way, FYI, before you accuse me of being scouseist.

Let’s start with the red cabbage, shall we? Regular readers (quite why you exist, I don’t know) will know that I don’t like red cabbage. At all. And it doesn’t belong on a roast dinner, does it?

Urgh, sodding British public.


Urgh, sodding British public.

Urgh, sodding British public. Anyway, I don’t like the stuff and I didn’t like this either. If you enjoy red cabbage then I think you’d be impressed with the fruity, tangy nature of the red cabbage at The Drapers Arms. The only positive for me was that it didn’t pollute the gravy, which is a relief.

Green cabbage is my kind of cabbage. This was good, finely shredded, though perhaps you could question the double-cabbage carry-on.

A few chantenay carrots were fine in a nothing special way. Just carrots, small and wholesome, with crunch.

Drape those arms

At some stage, these roast potatoes were half-decent crispy roast potatoes. I just don’t know when that was – it was quite probably the day before. They felt very tired and like they’d been hanging around for a long time, but at least they were fairly soft inside…a bit like the current government, they were good at one point but are now very tired. Maybe my love of Thatcher is really only a sexual thing?

No Yorkshire pudding. My accomplice asked for one, and was charged 50p. Make of that what you will. I increasingly disparage Yorkshire puddings, and didn’t care for one. I’m advised that it wasn’t worth the money. Not even a Brexit 50p coin.

It hasn’t exactly been impressive so far, has it? But the pork belly was sexual – eating it felt like it rescued the whole roast dinner from a bit of a semi-slating – it lifts the whole mood of this review.

The crackling was close to perfect, crunchy and gooey, and just melded into the pork itself. A generous portion too – I’ve had less than half of that amount at some places. Really quite sensational – this is why I go to restaurants, as I cannot do pork belly this well.

One minor down mark for the enforced condiment. STOP THIS!

And finally, the gravy. It was one of those oily, oddly tomatoey affairs, though with some consistency to it. It wasn’t really to gravy to my tastes, yet it didn’t offend. My accomplices that had the chicken roast, said that their chicken gravy was really good.

The Drapers Arms roast dinner review summary

So what tier does this roast dinner belong to? Fuck, imagine if I rated roast dinners in tiers. I’d need around 556 different tiers.

Service was attentive from mainly young women working there – and they were very hot on stopping people from going to the toilets downstairs without a mask…so if you think masks are to thank for covid being completely under control then I’m sure you’d be happy. Also tables were nicely spaced with the window open…and a northerner correctly placed next to the open window. That northerner being me, of course. Not sure what I’d think in December.

The pork belly was outstanding, if my body didn’t need vegetables then I could quite happily eat that for every meal and nothing else, for a week.

Everything else was broadly around average – roasties were probably good long before they were served, red cabbage isn’t for me but the 60.2% of the British public that think it belongs on a roast would probably be impressed.

Good service, nice pub, price not too expensive on the grand scheme of Islington, Soundwave on tap, decent Rioja. Plenty to commend The Drapers Arms on, though roast dinner improvements definitely available.

My accomplices rated it a 7, 7.1 and 7.3. I’m scoring it a 7.23 out of 10.

I don’t know when I’ll be back. Unless we go into lockdown this weekend, then I’m going away this weekend. If we do into lockdown this weekend then I won’t be going away but I also won’t be going out for a roast dinner.

And next weekend is far too far away to contemplate. Fucking covid.

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The Drapers Arms, Islington

Station: Highbury & Islington

Tube Lines: Victoria

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £18.50

Rating: 7.23

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Only the pork belly impressed, but boy did it impress. Sensational.

Loathed: Roast potatoes. Yes I say this every week.

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