The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town

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Please note that this review is from March 8, 2022 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

This week I went to The Lion And Unicorn in Kentish Town.

I said that there were two things that I was going to stop doing for this blog in 2022. Firstly stop buying cauliflower cheese sides – so often they are disappointing, mushy cauliflower with no cheese flavour, and just a cheap way for pubs to get more money out of me.

Two, stop going to Young’s pubs. There are so many (hopefully) good independent venues that I should be trying, instead of going to a stock market chain for yet another roast dinner with anaemic roasties, burnt yorkies and that watery gravy that is served at almost all Young’s pubs.

Alas, The Lion And Unicorn is yet another Young’s pub.

Yet there have been some exceptions – The Narrowboat and The Wheatsheaf are both Young’s pubs with excellent roast dinners.

So despite some resignation at picking yet another Young’s pub as our venue this Sunday gone, there was a little bit of me that thought, well maybe it could surprise me. I only added it to the to-do list as their social media images looked good – and Kentish Town is a good location for us.

Speaking of surprises, have you heard that NFTs might actually be in a bubble? Crazy to think that $700,000 for an imaginary yacht isn’t a good investment, but hey, you are looking at someone here that is still invested in a mining/steel company part-owned by Roman Abramovich which has lost 90% of its value in recent weeks. So what the fuck do I know about investing?

Someone even sold an imaginary yacht for a $67,799.54 loss the other day. And no, there isn’t a roast dinner NFT. Some of you don’t know what one is, do you? Maybe skip to the part where I bang on about Brexit.

Oh speaking of Brexit.

Pink post box

Someone’s painted the post boxes pink near my house. Is this really the Brexit that people in London didn’t actually vote for?

Oh speaking of voting. The People’s Roast Vote 3.1 has been launched. Yes, you, the trustworthy British public and assorted Twitter bots wanking over topless Putin photos whilst spouting Kremlin propaganda can decide where I go for a roast dinner one Sunday soon. A whole two people have nominated so far. Think of the influence you can have. Think of realising your dreams of controlling me. Nominate here.

Three lions on a shirt

Where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to stop ordering cauliflower cheese, stop going to Young’s pubs, create a roast dinner NFT and…go for two roast dinners. Can you believe that a really good friend asked me if I wanted to go for a roast dinner for her birthday? IN READING. Which is not London. Yeah, tube map, I know, but still, Reading is not London.

And I’m away the next two weekends. Going to Vegas. Baby. And San Diego. And…York. Did I tell you this?

Anyway. I agreed to go for dessert. In Reading. Yeah. Which meant an early roast dinner at The Lion And Unicorn – a midday booking, which kind of feels like cheating the system, as I normally go between 1pm and 2pm – and midday just means that the roast potatoes should…could be fresher.

Guess where we were sat?

Yet another stinky, smoky fire

Yes, right next to the fire. Again. Fat bloke. Fat, ugly bloke. Fat, ugly, northern bloke. Next to hot fire. Why? Why does this always happen to me at the moment? And it was a proper, stinky, smoky, yucky thing. Or romantic and cosy. Depending on your level of miserableness.

The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town, Roast Dinner Menu

There were plenty of options – half a chicken, beef rump, lamb rump and pork belly – I decided to go for the chicken as, you know, less calories and I want to look sexy in Vegas. Baby. Priced between £17.50 and £21 – the chicken being at the bottom of this range.

Three Lines On A Toilet Seat

I guess our roasts took around 20 minutes to arrive, and came with not only a side of pigs in blankets that we’d ordered and…some cauliflower cheese…that I hadn’t ordered.

Our waiter, who seemed to be the guy running the place, had been trying to upsell – and I wasn’t having it. I had stated that I was fed up of soggy cauliflower and a total lack of cheese. He brought us a bowl for free as he insisted that his was good. Did he know who I was?

The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town, Cauliflower Cheese

Guess I might as well start there. It definitely tasted of cheese, at least somewhat, though the cauliflower was quite mushy. Broadly speaking, better than average. But it hasn’t changed my mind. Occasionally, like on my birthday, I get an amazing cauliflower cheese.

Guess I should show you the whole roast. This was how it was served anyway.

The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town, Roast Dinner

Yeah, red cabbage. I’m still not keen but as far as it goes this was pretty decent. It had the usual kind of winter, fruity spices but not overly so, with a touch of stickiness from quite sizable shavings of red cabbage. Thankfully there was no gravy pollution either.

Then we had “smashed” carrot and swede, which feels like something I would do with vegetables when I cannot be bothered to mash properly. Rather buttery, with good texture. I liked it.

See Line Woman

There was an overcooked half of parsnip – like really brown yet not actually burnt. And tasted parsnippy – kind of better than it being anaemic.

Finally for the vegetables – I think – was the creamed leeks. A very small amount and I’d also put cauliflower cheese on top, which kind of mashed up the taste – but they were very nice.

The roast potatoes were reassuringly rubbish. It actually felt like the quality of potato was poor – one was almost crispy on the outside though still not great, the other two were pretty dry and undercooked. Phew. Was beginning to get worried that I was enjoying a Young’s roast dinner too much.

The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town, Sunday Roast With Sides On

Another giant Yorkshire pudding – wait – maybe this is what I can make my riches on – an NFT of a Yorkshire pudding. I just did a quick search, albeit on Bing which is apparently better for pornography than Google but that honestly is not the reason why I’m trying Bing, and I couldn’t find a Yorkshire pudding NFT. Hmmm. One of you has just stolen this idea, haven’t you? But at least give me a Dogecoin yo?

Oh yeah, the Yorkshire pudding. Kind of decent really, quite crispy, quite fresh.

Sea Lion Woman

The chicken looks pale and under-cooked on the outside, though our waiter sold it to us on the basis that it had been passively cooked for 48 hours and it was his favourite.

It was pretty good. In an ideal world, maybe it would have seen some hot metal to crisp the skin up but then again, that might have dried out the chicken. Plenty of flavour and it was actually cooked well – despite what it looks like. Also, you know my photography is shit. Though I have a new phone. But I couldn’t use it this week as it doesn’t have a headphone socket, and bollocks am I going to adventure around London whilst hearing OTHER PEOPLE. Oh and Reading. By the way, I didn’t have a dessert.

We had stuffing too. Alas, the stuffing had cranberry in which isn’t to my tastes – I prefer a herby stuffing, but a bit like when my housemate practices with her band, I can appreciate that it is probably good music – I’m just not keen as I prefer minimal techno. Just as I prefer minimal fruit on a roast dinner.

The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town, Pigs In Blankets

Now, I might be attempting to eschew the ever-present disappointment of ordering cauliflower cheese as a side. However, I am also attempting to add pigs in blankets where possible. And these were actually excellent. Plump, juicy, fat little sausages with perfectly cooked streaky bacon wrapped around. Give me this over cauliflower un-cheese any day. Bowling, Warney.

Finally the gravy. You won’t be surprised to hear that there wasn’t much in the mini-jug on the plate, however when we asked for more, we received a proper large bowl of gravy. I know. In a Young’s pub too. Crazy shit. And the gravy was thick. THICK! Like we do up north. It was even pretty flavoursome – I’ve had better gravy, but it was up there. If I were rating on gravy alone then an easy 8/10.

Good gravy, can make a good roast dinner. And a happy fat, ugly, northerner.

Sea Lion Woman. And A Unicorn. Maybe A Lion. At The Lion And Unicorn.

So. I’ve had a good roast dinner in a Young’s pub. I did try to tease some information out of the person serving us, and it seems that The Lion And Unicorn have a bit more freedom than other places under head office command, and a treasured chef working for them.

Let’s hope it stays that way. The Young’s model clearly works – whilst I’ve tired of it, they can still fill their generally very decent pubs, knock out passable food, serve respectable enough drinks (Neck Oil I see you everywhere) and you’ll have a totally fine occasion. Like Wetherspoon’s for the aspiring classes.

However more people will get tired of it over time, and with the oil price spiking, inflation high and recession looking increasingly liking, there may be less of us aspiring in the coming year or two. Hell, if things get really bad, I might need to start accepting some of those free roast dinner offers on Instagrim.

My point being, that if large chains have such venues within their corporate bosom, then in difficult times they should really cherish them. And yes, I did like The Lion And Unicorn.

I could have done without the smoky fire – I was picking grey snot out of my nose, like it was 1998. You remember when London turned your snot grey, right? But they have an adorable pub dog, Eddie, so ahhhh doggy.

We had very good service too, not just the free cauliflower cheese – more important was the conviviality of the guy serving us – I assumed the manager but I could be wrong. Actually made us feel wanted, which is a rare treat in a pub.

And the roast dinner was very good. Almost too much food – I didn’t need to eat later, though I did have some lemon tart from M&S. And then some more.

The roast dinner wasn’t without issue – namely the roast potatoes, which felt like crap potatoes and also were undercooked.

But otherwise, the gravy was very good, the yorkie was good, the vegetables were mostly good – I even thought the red cabbage was done pretty nicely.

My accomplices are wrong with their scores. My vegetarian friend didn’t eat her vegan thing yet scored it an 8.5. Eh? My regular accomplice scored it an 8.4. She was obviously forgetting the roast potatoes.

I’m scoring it a 7.81 out of 10. I cannot bring myself to score something over an 8, with a failing on one of the most important parts – the roast potatoes. Yet this was a surprisingly good roast dinner.

Next week…oh I’m in York next week. The week after…oh I’m in San Diego the week after. How are you going to cope without me?

Don’t forget to nominate where you want me to review in the People’s Roast Vote.

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The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town

Station: Kentish Town

Tube Lines: Northern

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £17.50

Rating: 7.81

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Good, thick gravy, a huge portion, the pigs in blankets were particularly special.

Loathed: Roast potatoes were crud - quality of potato used felt crap.

One response to “The Lion And Unicorn, Kentish Town

  1. ‘passively cooked’ 48 hour chicken, so not actually roasted, more braised then. But I see the menu doesn’t actually say roast chicken!

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