REVIEW: The Gipsy Queen, Kentish Town
Guest blogger Brenda Wong visits The Gipsy Queen, a gastropub sandwiched between Kentish Town and Gospel Oak…
There’s nothing like a great local to really bring the neighborhood together, and the residents of NW5 are enjoying a slew of new openings in the area. We’ve savoured burnt leek pie and thick steak at The Bull & Gate, indulged in snails and French onion soup at family-run Patron and rolled up our sleeves for fried chicken at Joe’s Southern Kitchen.
But The Gipsy Queen, once known as the Bluebell, might be the most ambitious transformation yet. From a slightly lethargic old boozer to a bright, airy space, its loving refurbishment is owed to the people behind Kentish Town favourite The Grafton.
Not quite in Kentish Town, not quite in Gospel Oak, the Gipsy Queen is slightly challenging to get to, especially on what was one of the hottest days of the year. But when we got there, slightly dishevelled from the scorching walk, we were greeted warmly by excellent staff, soon sitting down to a glass of cold rosé. A good start.
We approached the menu with a certain degree of expectation; the Grafton being well known for its excellent food, we fully expected the Gipsy Queen to deliver in the same way. We opted for roasted scallops (£9) to start, and it was the perfect summer dish. Tender, huge scallops burst with flavour, sat atop a bed of cucumber, apple and seaweed, swimming in a sea of cucumber water. Delightfully refreshing, it evokes the seaside – a tremendous feat for a North London pub.
Our companion opted to sample the guinea fowl, polenta and leeks (£8.50) – so gorgeous, it might convert those not usually convinced by the thick grain.
As for the mains, we heartily recommend the Barnsley chop with spring onions and potato rosti (£14.50). The chop was juicy and tender, the potato wonderfully crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. Perhaps not ideal for a sweltering summer day, but irresistible nonetheless.
The salmon with cucumber and fennel (£14.00) paled in comparison to the mighty chop. The salmon itself was cooked wonderfully, falling apart at the fork, with a crispy skin. But we couldn’t help but wonder if it could have done with an extra kick – a drizzle of miso would have perhaps done just the trick. Still, a satisfactory low-carb dish for anyone who desires a healthy pub lunch.
Now, the showstopper of a dessert. It came in the form of a Chocolate Bombe, a chocolate sphere with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Melting into a pool of molten goodness in front of our eyes, offset by the delectable crunch of homemade honeycomb, it was the perfect end to a lovely summer meal.
Yes, the Gipsy Queen is a little out of the way. But it is certainly worth making the journey for, if not for their fantastic food, but for their amiable staff, comfortable atmosphere and their secret pub garden.
Brenda @ Fashionbite xx
Address: 166 Malden Road, London, NW5 4BS