The Old Queen’s Head

The problem with the Sunday roast at The Old Queen’s Head was a case of extremely high expectations. My friend Mez who is a devotee of The Old Queen’s Head had promised me the best roast in London. She assured me it was better than anything that your mother has ever cooked or will ever cook for you, even through the rose tinted glasses with which you tend to view your mothers cooking when you are millions of miles away. To give Mez her dues the roast was good but I don’t think it was the best roast in London and if you are reading this Mum don’t worry it was certainly not a patch on yours.

Located on busy Essex Road in Islington, inside The Old Queen’s Head boasts an expansive bar area, huge old fireplaces and a few quirky touches such as chandeliers made of antlers. There are cheery red Chesterfield sofas to sink into and plenty of well worn tables and chairs to make yourself at home. The menu offers basic pub grub with somewhat of an Asian twist vacillating between crispy duck pancakes and edamame beans to the more traditional fish finger sandwiches.

The offerings on Sundays are much more pared back and choice is limited to a variety of roasts or a selection of burgers. The roast leg of Welsh lamb certainly looks the business. The serving size is generous and hunks of lamb sit alongside fluffy roast potatoes, lightly caramelised carrots and a towering Yorkshire pudding. The whole meal is lacquered with a light but flavoursome gravy. However, the lamb which was enticingly listed on the menu as being served medium rare is tough and overcooked. A cardinal sin for which there can really be no forgiveness. Perhaps I should have gone for the vegetarian roast which incorporates mushrooms instead of the meat and looks genuinely appetising.

Still I am sorry to say that the roast at The Old Queen’s Head is good but not that good.

Details: 44 Essex Road, Islington N1 8LN (Ph 020 7354 9993)

Damage: Reasonable


If you enjoyed reading this you might like to find out about the roasts at The Holly Bush in Hampstead I think they are a step up from the Old Queen’s Head. I didn’t have much luck with my roast at The Angel Inn in the Lakes District either. Perhaps I am just too fussy.

Old Queen's Head on Urbanspoon


  1. I don’t bother with roast dinners outside of home now, as I always find the meat a disappointment. I’ve heard good things about the nearby Marquess Tavern though.

  2. Lizzie – maybe it is one of those things that is always better at home (like lasagana – I very rarely order that in a restaurant). Thanks for the tip re Marquess Tavern.

  3. Went to Old Queens Head for Sunday roast last weekend. Was a disappointment I must say. The Welsh lamb tasted positively flat. Oh well, any luck with The York further up the road?

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